A spiral galaxy shines in blues, purples, and reds in this composite image of NGC 4258 released July 2. The various colors denote X-rays (blue), radio waves (purple), visible light (blue and yellow), and infrared light (red) blasting from this cosmic swirl.
NGC 4258 is also famous for two of its arms, which are not in the same plane as the rest of the galaxy. Instead, they intersect it. Researchers think they're formed when the shock waves produced by a supermassive black hole heat huge clouds of gas that bubble up from the galaxy.
—Jane J. Lee
Photograph by X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
A crewmember on board the International Space Station snapped an image of a developing hurricane, named Arthur, off the eastern U.S. on July 2.
Photograph by NASA
Closer to Flight
NASA is one step closer to sending astronauts back into space. The dome above, one of the components of NASA's new rocket—the Space Launch System—passed a critical design review July 1. This means that parts of the rocket are ready to go into production.
Photograph by NASA/MAF
NASA is sending the Hubble Space Telescope to search for suitable targets for a flyby of the New Horizons spacecraft in fall 2015. New Horizons will survey the surface and atmosphere of the dwarf planet Pluto and, hopefully, some objects (circled in the photographs) in the Kuiper Belt—a disk-shaped region of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit. Pluto is one of the better known objects in the belt.
Photograph by NASA, ESA, SwRI, JHU/APL, New Horizons KBO Search Team
A Landsat 8 image, released July 1, shows a splash of turquoise that is the Hanhowuz Reservoir, surrounded by the Garagum Desert in Turkmenistan. The Garagum Canal snakes into the upper right corner of the reservoir.
Tiny plants called phytoplankton and fish, including catfish and Arab barbel, thrive in the reservoir's warm waters.