The image, taken in the mountains north of Madrid, shows the dust and debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet streaming through Earth's atmosphere. Our planet passes through this debris field every summer, making the Perseids one of the most reliable night sky events of the year. (See "Google Doodle Honors 2014 Perseid Meteor Shower.")
NASA's satellite Landsat 8 captured Sweden's biggest wildfire in 40 years in an image released August 9.
Wildfires aren't common in Sweden, but near-record heat and dry weather during July and August primed the country's forests to burn. Similar conditions have set the stage for an active fire season on the U.S. West Coast this year. (See "Your Shot Pictures: Wildfires From the Front Lines.")
Photograph by Earth Observatory/NASA
Birth of a Supernova
Supernovae produce many of the elements that make up planets and stars and help astronomers calculate the rate of expansion of the universe. The supernova imaged above is called Type Ia, which researchers think involve the detonation of a white dwarf star.
The question, though, is how those white dwarfs ignite to produce a Type Ia explosion. New observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that these supernovae are a result of a fusion between two white dwarfs.
Photograph by Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
The European Space Agency's Rosetta pulled into orbit around the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet on August 6 and has started beaming back data. It took ten years for the spacecraft to reach its destination.
The image pictured above, released August 14, shows the upper body (top) of the comet, the neck (middle), and the body (bottom). Rosetta's mission is to study this comet up close and eventually to land on the celestial object.