NASA’s Fleet of Satellites Keep an Eye on Earth #NASA

NASA’s fleet of 18 Earth science missions in space, supported by aircraft, ships and ground observations, measure aspects of the environment that touch the lives of every person around the world. This visualization shows the NASA fleet in 2017. via NASA

Expedition 51 Launch to the International Space Station #NASA

The Soyuz MS-04 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 1:13 p.m. Baikonur time carrying NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos into orbit to begin their four and a half month mission on the International Space Station. via NASA

Asteroid 2014 JO25 #NASA

A day before its closest approach, asteroid 2014 JO25 was imaged by radar with the 70-meter antenna of NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California. This grid of 30 radar images, top left to lower right, reveals the two-lobed shape of the asteroid that rotates about once every five hours. Its largest lobe is about 610 meters across. On the list of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, this space rock made its close approach to our fair planet on April 19, flying safely past at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers. That’s over four times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The asteroid was a faint and fast moving speck visible in backyard telescopes. Asteroid 2014 JO25 was discovered in May 2014 by the Catalina Sky Survey, a project of NASA’s Near-Earth Objects Observations Program in collaboration with the University of Arizona. via NASA

The Arrhythmic Beating of a Black Hole Heart #NASA

At the center of the Centaurus galaxy cluster, there is a large elliptical galaxy called NGC 4696. Deeper still, there is a supermassive black hole buried within the core of this galaxy. New data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes has revealed details about this giant black hole. via NASA

The Red Spider Planetary Nebula #NASA

Oh what a tangled web a planetary nebula can weave. The Red Spider Planetary Nebula shows the complex structure that can result when a normal star ejects its outer gases and becomes a white dwarf star. Officially tagged NGC 6537, this two-lobed symmetric planetary nebula houses one of the hottest white dwarfs ever observed, probably as part of a binary star system. Internal winds emanating from the central stars, visible in the center, have been measured in excess of 1000 kilometers per second. These winds expand the nebula, flow along the nebula’s walls, and cause waves of hot gas and dust to collide. Atoms caught in these colliding shocks radiate light shown in the above representative-color picture by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Red Spider Nebula lies toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). Its distance is not well known but has been estimated by some to be about 4,000 light-years. via NASA

Liftoff of Orbital ATK Cargo Mission to International Space Station #NASA

The Orbital ATK Cygnus pressurized cargo module is carried atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission will deliver 7,600 pounds of supplies, equipment and scientific research materials to the International Space Station. via NASA

Night Glows #NASA

What glows in the night? This night, several unusual glows were evident — some near, but some far. The foreground surf glimmers blue with the light of bioluminescent plankton. Next out, Earth’s atmosphere dims the horizon and provides a few opaque clouds. Further out, the planet Venus glows bright near the image center. If you slightly avert your eyes, a diagonal beam of light will stand out crossing behind Venus. This band is zodiacal light, sunlight scattered by dust in our Solar System. Much further away are numerous single bright stars, most closer than 100 light years away. Furthest away, also rising diagonally and making a “V” with the zodiacal light, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Most of the billions of Milky Way stars and dark clouds are thousands of light years away. The featured image was taken last November on the Iranian coast of Gulf of Oman. via NASA