NASA's OSIRIS-REx has arrived at the near-Earth asteroid Bennu earlier this week. Bennu, which orbits the Sun, is covered in dirt, smaller rocks, and the occasional boulder. After two years and a journey of 1.2 billion miles, OSIRIS-REx was only 11 miles from the surface when it was taken. Eventually the spacecraft wants to collect a sample of the asteroid to bring back into the early solar system. For now, it's about a year before the rocky spot to go scavenging on.
The Juno spacecraft spotted a dolphin-shaped cloud on the southern temperate belt of Jupiter a few weeks ago. The atmosphere directly below therefore has the appearance of crashing waves, making this quite the ocean scene for a giant gaseous planet. Jupiter's clouds and storms are always something to behold, but this swimming dolphin looks like something drawn on porpoise.
This image contains more than 1,000 galaxies to be specific. The Hubble Space Telescope has recently come up with a group of globular clusters packed in what's called the Coma galaxy cluster. Galaxies in clusters are smaller than regular galaxies, but they are not trivial: These objects are better indicators of gravity distortions in the cluster, and search anomalies point to the existence of unseen mass-dark matter-which is not exactly well understood. And even though it's 300 million light years from Earth, this coma cluster is finally being examined by scientists thanks to Hubble.
Ever wondered what the violent aftermath of exploding star looks like? Well, here you go. Hubble captured this photo of a remnant of a supernova called SNR 0454-67.2. These tendrils of gas are probably formed by a supernova explosion, which occurs when a dead white dwarf star starts. What's left is this swirl of gas and dust.
Astronauts on the International Space Station are fastidious Earth-watchers with front-row seats: They're in orbit 250 miles up and can see 16 sunrises and sunsets a day. Alexander Gerst, you can glimpse the telltale lights of civilization on the ground, along with a clear reminder of how unbelievably svelte our life-sustaining atmosphere is really, just a few dozen miles above the surface.
Fun in the Sun: Proba2 spacecraft, an Earth-orbiting satellite, has been collecting data on the appearance of the poles. Now, this image is not exactly symmetrical; that's because the sun's corona is always changing and reshaping. The dark center reveals the coronal hole over the pole. It's like looking into the eye of Sauron, but at least with no danger from orcs.