With the recent return to Earth of three ISS crew members, Fossum is currently one of three people still aboard the orbiting laboratory. A new trio of spacefarers is slated to launch for the ISS on November 14, rounding out the Expedition 29 crew.
Seen from Hai Duong, Vietnam, the bright sun sports a rainbow-colored halo in a picture taken September 17.
The circle of color is an optical effect created as ice crystals in high-altitude clouds refract, or bend, light. Because the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere are almost always below freezing, sun halos and related phenomena—such as sun dogs and pillars—can be seen year-round, according to NASA.
Water taxis dart like comets through the waters around Venice in a satellite picture of the Italian city recently released by the European Space Agency.
At the top in this frame, the Grand Canal can be seen curving through the southern part of the central districts toward the Piazza San Marco. At bottom are the islands of Giudecca (left) and San Giorgio Maggiore.
Galaxies seem to dance like fireflies in a new picture of part of the Coma galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and released September 19.
The brightest galaxy at top right is NGC 4874, a giant elliptical galaxy about ten times larger than our Milky Way. Recently astronomers found that NGC 4874 hosts its own cluster within a cluster: The galaxy's strong gravitational pull allows it to hold onto a swarm of globular star clusters and a few dwarf galaxies.
Image courtesy ESA/NASA
Light being bent by Earth's atmospheric layers gives the setting sun a squashed appearance in a recently released picture taken through a telescope from the Zagros Mountains of Iran.
The image also captured a so-called green flash near the top of the sun. This brief phenomenon can happen when the sun is seen through clear skies near the horizon.
Earth's atmospheric layers bend, or refract, light like a prism in such a way that green light appears to be coming from a slightly higher position than orange or red.
A Soyuz spacecraft drifts back to Earth carrying a NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts in a picture taken September 16. The trio landed safely in Kazakhstan after spending more than five months aboard the International Space Station.
The return of Alexander Samokutyaev, Andrey Borisenko, and Ronald Garan wasn't without some drama: Mission control in Moscow reportedly lost contact with the craft for a few minutes during its descent, but communications were reestablished as the capsule neared touchdown outside the city of Dzhezkazgan.