The cratered surface of Mercury bathes in sunlight in this recently released view from NASA's Messenger spacecraft. The spacecraft has taken more than 170,000 pictures of the planet since 2011.
The innermost planet of the solar system sports a pock-marked surface, mementos of earlier impacts that have left behind craters such as the one 75 miles (120 kilometers) wide, near the center of the picture.
Photograph by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Elephant Trunk Grasps Stars
The Elephant Trunk Nebula, officially named IC 1396A, swings amid a collection of young stars, seen in this just released archival image from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
Chandra astronomers combined their observatory's x-ray view of the nebula with visible light and infrared images to reveal the cloud's complete shape.
Northern lights are particularly common during the high point of the sun's 11-year solar cycle, when solar outbursts more often collide with Earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere. (See more pictures of the northern lights.)