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Supernova erupts in M66

View larger. | The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok, which came into view in Earth's sky this weekend. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

The object between the tick marks is Supernova 2016cok. Photo by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, May 29, 2016.

M66 is a galaxy 36 million light-years away in the direction to our constellation Leo. A star exploded there 36 million years ago … and came into view in Earth’s sky this weekend.

Saturn’s south polar vortex

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image of Saturn’s south polar vortex, 10 times more detailed than any previous image. Image via NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

A monstrous vortex sits at Saturn’s south pole. It’s not just beautiful. It also lets astronomers peer deep into Saturn’s dense atmosphere.

Cloud-free Africa

Mosaic image of Africa, contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by Brockmann Consult/ Université catholique de Louvain as part of ESA’s Climate Change Initiative Land Cover project

Mosaic image of Africa, via ESA’s Sentinel-2A satellite.

The European Space Agency used 7,000 satellite images – acquired from late 2015 through early 2016 – to make this mosaic of Africa.

Sunrays seen from Chile

Photo by Yuri Beletsky in the Atacama Desert.

Photo by Yuri Beletsky in the Atacama Desert.

Crepuscular rays, sometimes called sunrays, above the famous volcano Licancabur on the border between Chile and Bolivia.

Hubble spies a comet’s rotating jet

s/2016/14/image/a/format/web_print/View full Hubble image. | A narrow, well-defined jet of dust extending from the icy, fragile nucleus of Comet 252P/LINEAR, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope during one of the closest encounters between a comet and our planet.

A rotating jet of dust extending from the icy, fragile nucleus of Comet 252P/LINEAR. The jet is pointed toward about 10 o’clock in the first image, and about 8 o’clock in the second.

In March, Comet 252P/LINEAR passed exceedingly near the Earth. These images show the closest celestial object Hubble has observed, other than Earth’s moon.

New Hubble image of Mars

View larger. | This image shows our neighbouring planet Mars, as it was observed shortly before opposition in 2016 by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Some prominent features of the planet are clearly visible: the ancient and inactive shield volcano Syrtis Major; the bright and oval Hellas Planitia basin; the heavily eroded Arabia Terra in the centre of the image; the dark features of Sinus Sabaeous and Sinus Meridiani along the equator; and the small southern polar cap. Image via NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell, M. Wolff.

Mars, as it was observed by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 12, 2016. Image via NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, J. Bell, M. Wolff.

New Hubble Space Telescope image of Mars, in honor of the planet’s 2016 opposition, when our planet Earth will sweep between the Red Planet and the sun. That’ll happen this weekend! Learn more inside.

Clouds that look like ocean waves

Photo credit: Paul Chartier

Photo credit: Paul Chartier

Here’s a special kind of cloud known to scientists as a Kelvin Helmholtz cloud. They look like breaking ocean waves, with the rolling eddies seen at the top of the cloud layers usually evenly spaced and easily identifiable.

Milky Way over the Outer Banks

Photo by Jeff Berkes Photography.

Moon halo, stars, planet over Chile

View larger. | Photo by Yuri Beletsky in Chile, taken near Las Campinas Observatory. Visit Yuri's Facebook page.

Photo by Yuri Beletsky in Chile, taken near Las Campinas Observatory.

Yuri Beletsky in Chile captured this beauty on May 13, 2016. The star within the lunar halo is Regulus, brightest light in the constellation Leo the Lion. The bright one on the left is Procyon in Canis Minor, and the one on the right is the planet Jupiter. The moon is surrounded by what’s called a 22-degree halo.

Where red Mars looks blue

View larger. | This is one of the most colorful places on Mars, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on February 5, 2016.  It's the The Nili Fossae region, located on the northwest rim of Isidis impact basin. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.

The Nili Fossae region on Mars – one of Mars’ most colorful places. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.

Mars is the red planet, but it turns out that many images we see of it show Mars’ colors as homogenized by the this world’s reddish dust and regolith. This new image from the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – taken on February 5, 2016 – shows fantastic colors on Mars.