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See a Dying Star, Astronauts Camping and More Out-of-This-World Shots

Two of Saturn's 53 moons, #EarthArt from above and more of the best space photos from February 2017.

Image: Moon

The International Space Station passes in front of the moon in a multiple-exposure image captured on Feb. 4, in Rouen, France, the birthplace of Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut who is spending six months on the station.

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault was unaware of Thomas' connection to Rouen at the time he made this photograph.

Thierry Legault / ESA
Image: Andrew J. Feustel, Oleg Artemyev, Sergej Prokopyev

NASA astronaut Andrew J. Feustel holds a flare as Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, left, and Sergej Prokopyev stand near the hut which they built during a three-day winter training session in a forest outside Moscow on Feb. 8. The three are training for a future mission to the International Space Station.

Pavel Golovkin / AP

This star may be in its death throes, but don't feel too sorry for it: from our perspective it's still going to be a star long after you and everyone you know has died.

The Calabash Nebula is captured here by the Hubble Space Telescope as it undergoes the transformation from a red giant to its afterlife as a planetary nebula. Astronomers rarely capture a "dying star" in this phase because it occurs within the blink of an eye in astronomical terms. It’ll take a thousand years for it to evolve into a fully-fledged planetary nebula. 

Of course, what we’re seeing here is 5,000 light years away in the Puppis constellation so it happened 5,000 years ago and the light is just reaching us. From that perspective, what we’re seeing is a ghost, a star long dead before we’d even invented telescopes.

During the transformation it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space in opposite directions at immense speeds. The gas shown in yellow is moving close to 600,000 miles an hour.

Image released on Feb. 3. 


French astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted this image on Feb. 9 from the International Space Station showing a storm on Earth at dusk.

"It looks like our solar arrays are stirring the clouds!" said Pesquet.

Thomas Pesquet / ESA/NASA
Image: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket disappears into clouds after it lifted off on a supply mission to the International Space Station from historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket disappears into clouds after it lifted off on a supply mission to the International Space Station at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 19. 

Joe Skipper / Reuters
Image: SpaceX Falcon9 ISS Supply Mission Launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage rocket successfully returns to earth on Feb. 19 at the Kennedy Space Center.

The reusable rocket successfully carried a Dragon cargo capsule into space for a supply mission to the International Space Station.


SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Feb. 23. The commercial spacecraft launched on Feb. 19 and carried about 5,500 pounds of experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

Station crew members used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Dragon, then handed command over to ground controllers to attach Dragon to the station.

Image: Enceladus

The Cassini spacecraft captured this profile view of Enceladus, one of Saturn's many moons, from some 81,000 miles away.

Enceladus appears to be like most of its sibling moons: cold, icy and inhospitable. But under that forbidding exterior may exist the very conditions needed for life. Under its icy crust it has a global ocean and may have hydrothermal activity as well. Since scientists believe liquid water is a key ingredient for life, the implications for future missions searching for life elsewhere in our solar system could be significant.

Image released on Feb. 6. 


"Don't tell me this doesn't look like a painting!" said Astronaut Thomas Pesquet when he tweeted this image of the Sahara desert from the International Space on Feb. 19.

Pesquet frequently tweets abstract images of the planet's surface with the hashtag #EarthArt.

Thomas Pesquet / ESA/NASA

The Dnieper River north of Kiev, Ukraine, is covered in snow in this magical winter landscape captured from the International Space Station on Feb. 9. 

Thomas Pesquet / ESA / NASA

The setting sun lights up Australia's Uluru, better known as Ayers Rock, in this picture tweeted from the International Space Station on Feb. 5. 

The sandstone formation rises more than 1,100 feet above the surrounding terrain and is almost 6 miles around.

Thomas Pesquet

From left, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet pose with "Robonaut" on the International Space Station on Feb. 1.

Robonaut is being developed by NASA to help astronauts out with dangerous or repetitive tasks. Eventually, robots like Robonaut could be used to explore other planets under human control by astronauts. 

Thomas Pesquet / ESA
Image: Perspective view of Chasma Boreale

A deep canyon, known as "Chasma Boreale," cuts through Mars' north polar cap in this image released on Feb. 2.

The giant trough is thought to have been present before the iconic spiraling ice cap formed, seemingly growing deeper as new ice deposits built up around it. The view is based on images taken by the European Space Agency's "Mars Express" mission. 


The Cassini spacecraft captured this view of Saturn's moon Mimas on Jan. 30. 

Scientists have discovered a total of 53 confirmed moons orbiting Saturn and another 9 provisional moons (for a possible total of 62 moons).

Image: Zodiacal light in Hungary

Venus, left, and the Milky Way  appear near the top of the Three-Stone Hill in Hungary on Feb. 16

Venus is surrounded by the Zodiacal light, a dim glow seen above the western horizon after sunset or in the east before sunrise. It's caused by millions of tiny particles in the plane of Earth's solar system. The phenomenon can be observed mainly in February and March. 

Peter Komka / EPA

The moon passes in front of the sun, an annular solar eclipse, on Feb. 26 as seen near Sarmiento, Argentina.

Stargazers applauded as they were plunged into darkness in a spectacular "ring of fire" eclipse. 

Alejandro Pagni / AFP - Getty Images

Spectators watch as a Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket blasts off in Sriharikota, India, on Feb. 15.

The single rocket successfully ejected a record 104 satellites into orbit in the latest triumph for India's famously frugal space agency.

Arun Sankar / AFP - Getty Images

NASA'ss Juno spacecraft soared directly over Jupiter's south pole capturing this image on Feb. 2 from an altitude of about 62,800 miles above the cloud tops.

This enhanced-color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms. The Juno mission to Jupiter has been in orbit around the gas giant since July 2016. On its current path it takes 53 days for the spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. 

January's Month in Space: 'Death Star' Moon and Saturn’s Rings Up Close

NASA via AFP - Getty Images