The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week!

Astronauts observe a hurricane and aurora from space, satellites watch lava flow from an erupting volcano and astrophotographers get awarded for spectacular celestial shots. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com. 

Hurricane Sam 

(Image credit: NASA)

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur shared this image of Hurricane Sam as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday (Sept. 29). The massive storm is churning in the Atlantic Ocean and fortunately doesn’t appear to pose a big threat to folks on land. 

“Another hurricane? I do not like them, Sam I Am,” McArthur wrote in a tweet posted on Wednesday, referencing the classic Dr. Seuss children’s book, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Full story: Astronaut snaps stunning photos of massive Hurricane Sam from space

“The Golden Ring”

(Image credit: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 13)

Photographer Shuchang Dong of China won the 2021 Astronomy Photographer of the Year award from the Royal Observatory Greenwich in England thanks to this gorgeous view of a solar eclipse. The image, dubbed “The Golden Ring,” was taken from the Ali region of Tibet on June 21, 2020. Dong’s “The Golden Ring” also took first place in the competition’s “Our Sun” category.

Full story: Solar eclipse looks otherworldly in ‘Golden Ring’ astrophotography shot

La Palma and its active volcano

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey)

This satellite view shows La Palma, which is one of the Canary Islands, and the lava flowing from its Cumbre Vieja volcano as seen on Sept. 26, 2021. In this view, the lava is pouring down the coastal mountain range as it approaches the Atlantic Ocean. The photo was taken by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite. 

“After Cumbre Vieja split open and began erupting on Sept. 19, 2021, a slow-moving wall of basaltic lava began bulldozing its way through populated parts of one of the Canary Islands,” according to a statement from NASA’s Earth Observatory. “Lava flows have destroyed nearly 400 homes, covered dozens of kilometers of roads, and consumed farmland on the island of La Palma as they creep down the western flank of the volcanic island toward the ocean.”

Full story: Bright lava flows, smoke pour from La Palma volcano eruption in new Landsat photos

Aurora seen from space

(Image credit: Thomas Pesquet/ESA/NASA)

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photo of an aurora snaking above Earth. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet snapped this image on Aug. 20 and shared it via Instagram and Twitter. 

“Another aurora but this one is special as it is so bright,” Pesquet wrote in an image caption. “It is the full Moon lighting up the shadow side of Earth almost like daylight.” It’s not clear whether the lights were the northern lights, known as the aurora borealis, or their southern counterpart, the aurora australis, according to Business Insider.

Full story: Superbright aurora lights up Earth’s night side in incredible image from space

California Dreamin’

(Image credit: Terry Hancock)

U.S. photographer Terry Hancock captured this shot of the California Nebula from Whitewater, Colorado, spending seven nights photographing this nebula 1,000 light-years from Earth with narrowband and broadband filters. It took home the top prize in the “Stars and Nebulae” 2021 category from the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. — Stephanie Pappas

Full gallery: Photos: Astrophotographers capture stunning views of the night sky for 2021 contest

Typhoon Mindulle looks pretty from space but is actually wreaking havoc in Japan

(Image credit: Jaxa/Akihiko Hoshide)

The creamy swirl of Typhoon Mindulle can be seen in this image taken by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide from the International Space Station. Mindulle, also called Typhoon No. 16, brought strong winds and heavy rain to the Pacific coast of eastern Japan on Friday (Oct.1), causing disruption to airlines and train services, according to local media. 

“Typhoon No. 16 approaches Japan. Everyone, please be careful,” Hoshide tweeted early in the morning on Friday. With sustained winds of nearly 75 mph (120 km/h) and gusts of up to 95 mph (150 km/h), Mindulle will move further to the north over the weekend and will continue affecting weather in the northeast of Japan in the upcoming days. — Tereza Pultarova

Asteroid explorer Lucy prepared for launch

(Image credit: NASA)

NASA’s asteroid explorer Lucy is being encapsulated into a rocket fairing ahead of its launch on Oct. 16. Lucy is the first spacecraft ever to explore the so-called Trojan asteroids, space rocks orbiting the sun in the orbit of Jupiter. The spacecraft, named after a fossilized australopithecus skeleton and a Beatles song, will embark on its 12-year journey from Cape Canaveral atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. 

During its landmark mission, Lucy will study up close eight different asteroids. Before it reaches its destination, it will take a close-up look at a space rock named Donaldjohanson, after the anthropologist that discovered the famous Lucy skeleton. Lucy will zoom past Donaldjohanason, located in the main asteroid belt between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter, in 2025. — Tereza Pultarova

First images of International Space Station with Nauka module released by Roscosmos

(Image credit: Roscosmos)

The first images of the International Space Station with the Nauka module attached, taken during a relocation of the Russian Soyuz capsule on Tuesday (Sept. 28), have been released by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who piloted the Soyuz capsule during the relocation, shared the images on Twitter on Wednesday (Sept. 29). 

“Yesterday, we re-docked the Soyuz MS-18 manned spacecraft from the Rassvet module to the new Nauka module,” Novitsky said. “All according to plan! We managed to take unique images of the ISS in the new configuration.” — Tereza Pultarova

Weather satellite captures launch of NASA’s new Earth-watching spacecraft 

(Image credit: NOAA)

The Goes 17 weather-forecasting satellite captured the moment when an Atlas V rocket with NASA’s new Earth observation spacecraft Landsat 9 aboard lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Monday (Sept. 27).

Perched 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth’s surface with a stable view of the American continent, Goes 17, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detected the streak created by the rocket as it sped through Earth’s atmosphere in its water vapor channel. — Tereza Pultarova

Space tourists planting trees before trip to space station 

(Image credit: Roscosmos/Anton Shkaplerov)

Russian actress Yulia Peresild and movie director Klim Shippenko plant trees at Russia’s Cosmodrome Baikonur in Kazakhstan as part of a preflight ritual in an image shared by Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on Twitter today (Sept.27). 

Peresild and Schippenko will spend three weeks at the International Space Station filming a movie called The Challenge. They are scheduled to launch on Oct. 5 together with Shkaplerov on board Russia’s Soyuz MS-19. They are expected to return to Earth on Oct. 17 with the current ISS commander Oleg Novitskiy. — Tereza Pultarova

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