This snapshot of the remote Pavlof volcano—located about 625 miles (a thousand kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, along the Aleutian Islands—undergoing a massive eruption was captured from the International Space Station (ISS) on May 18.
The ISS—nearly 220 miles (354 kilometers) above the Earth—photographed this snow-capped volcano at peak activity, belching an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6 kilometers) into the atmosphere.
This oblique view from space allows volcanologists a unique peek into the rarely seen 3-D structure of the giant ash plume, seen here stretching out toward the North Pacific Ocean. (See more pictures of erupting volcanoes.)
Located 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the summer constellation Lyra, this psychedelic cloud of expanding gas and dust was formed from material thrown off by a dying, sun-like star. (Learn about the Lyrid meteor showers.)
Image courtesy C. Robert O'Dell and David Thompson, Vanderbilt/LBTO/ESA/NASA
Like a cosmic archway, the Milky Way galaxy beautifully frames this serene, rocky landscape in Bryce Canyon in southwest Utah.
A magical view like this of our home galaxy—released May 17—can only be witnessed under pristine, dark skies, far from light-polluted cities.
Photograph by Wally Pacholka, TWAN
Some 300 miles (483 kilometers) from the moon's south pole, in an area known as the Apollo Basin, lies an unnamed double-ringed impact crater, shown here in an image released May 22. (Explore a map of the moon.)
This close-up snapshot by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the mysterious double-arch shape formed by the crater's rim and a concentric inner ring.
The formation of this structure isn't fully understood, but the Apollo Basin represents the deepest crater on the moon. Experts believe that by studying this region where the moon's lower crust is exposed, they can get a better understanding of the early part of its history.
Image courtesy ASU/NASA
Stellar Dust Bunnies
This picture postcard of a giant stellar nursery, released May 23, celebrates 15 years since the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile first opened its eye to the universe.
IC 2944 is a giant nebula in the southern constellation Centaurus, sitting 5,900 light-years away from Earth. The nebula is filled with dense clumps of dark gas and dust thought to be associated with star formation.
These dark clouds of dust, called Thackery's Globules, are each less than two light-years across and are seen here silhouetted against the brightly lit nebula.
Image courtesy ESO
Like a scene from the Middle Ages, a mystical moon plays peek-a-boo with clouds above the castle and town of Cochem (map), along the banks of the Moselle River in Germany.
"For a moment a clear patch in the [lunar] corona formed the batman logo in the sky!" said photographer Babak Tafreshi. He captured said bat signal on the night of May 18.