An observer in Colorado stands framed by a partial solar eclipse in a picture taken last week and submitted to National Geographic's My Shot.
Solar eclipses happen when the moon lines up between Earth and the sun. But in the most recent case, known as an annular eclipse, the dark moon's apparent diameter was smaller than the visible disk of the sun, so that it left a ring—or annulus—of fiery light around the edges.
Four NASA space telescopes recently teamed up to create this new image of M101, aka the Pinwheel galaxy. The colorized composite will help astronomers map the different kinds of activity happening in this large spiral galaxy.
Red, for instance, represents infrared light spied by the Spitzer Space Telescope, which shows dust lanes that are heated up where new stars are forming. Visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope, shown in yellow, comes from stars that trace the paths of the dust lanes.
Blue regions show ultraviolet light captured by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, which reveals hot, young stars that formed about a million years ago. Finally, data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, colored purple, lets us see high-energy emissions from supernovae, superheated gas, and hot matter falling into black holes.
Image courtesy NASA/Caltech/ESA/STScI/CXC
The setting sun turns the Pacific Ocean into liquid gold, smeared by inky shadows from low-hanging clouds, as seen by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station earlier this month.
The picture was snapped as the orbiting laboratory passed over the Andes Mountains of central Chile.
Photograph courtesy NASA
A "squashed tomato" sun rises over Vietnam's Quang Ngai beach in a picture recently submitted to National Geographic's My Shot.
The solar disk can appear distorted when it's near the horizon, because its light is being refracted—or bent—by more of Earth's atmosphere. Similarly, rising and setting suns often appear redder because the thicker atmospheric layers scatter more blue light, leaving mostly red wavelengths.