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Image: A deep infrared view of the Orion Nebula from HAWK-I


Month in Space: Star Factories and Aquanauts

Astronauts train underwater, the sun lines up for "Manhattanhenge," star-formation in the Orion and more of the month's best space pictures.

Image: the dunes of the Saudi peninsula

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams captured this image from the International Space Station on July 25 of man-made structures in the dunes of the Saudi peninsula along the border road between Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The cupola, a seven-windowed dome on the space station, offers panoramic views of Earth.

Jeff Williams / NASA
Image: Expedition 48 Soyuz Rollout

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 4, ahead of its launch to carry NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi to the International Space Station.

Bill Ingalls / NASA

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins smiles after having her suit pressure checked ahead of launch on July 7 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Rubins, Ivanishin, and Onishi will spend approximately four months on the orbital complex, returning to Earth in October.

Andrey Shelepin / NASA/GCTC

Kate Rubins performs the traditional door-signing at the Cosmonaut Hotel prior to departing for launch on July 7.

Bill Ingalls / NASA
Image: BESTPIX Expedition 48 Launch

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with crew members NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of Japan on July 7.

Bill Ingalls / NASA
Image: A deep infrared view of the Orion Nebula from HAWK-I

The deepest view ever of the Orion Nebula star-formation region reveals more very faint planetary-mass objects than expected. Made available by the European Southern Observatory on July 12, this image was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile.

H. Drass et al. / ESO via EPA

The undocked Russian Progress 62 spacecraft backs away from the International Space Station for a test of the upgraded tele-robotically operated rendezvous system on July 1. The Progress resupply vehicle is an automated, unpiloted version of the Soyuz spacecraft that is used to bring supplies and fuel to the International Space Station.


The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 21 mission began on July 21 as an international crew of aquanauts splashed down to the undersea Aquarius Reef Base, located 62 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The NEEMO 21 crew will perform research both inside and outside the habitat during a 16-day simulated space mission. During simulated spacewalks carried out underwater, they will evaluate tools and mission operation techniques that could be used in future space missions, including journeys to Mars.

Karl Shreeves / NASA

A European Space Agency Sentinel-2A satellite captured this view of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, released on July 15. A region comprising southern Bangladesh and a small part of the Indian state of west Bengal, the whole area of the Sundarbans incorporates some 6,000 square miles, consisting of mangrove and swamp forests.

Image: Manhattanhenge in New York, New York

The sun sets behind the New York skyline during "Manhattanhenge," on July 11. Twice a year the setting sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid.


While many other images of the famous Crab Nebula nebula have focused on the filaments in the outer part of the nebula, this image released July 8 shows the very heart of the Crab Nebula, including the central neutron star--it is the rightmost of the two bright stars near the center of this image. The rapid motion of the material nearest to the central star is revealed by the subtle rainbow of colors in this time-lapse image, the rainbow effect being due to the movement of material over the time between one image and another.


Juno Project Manager Rick Nybakken celebrates as the solar-powered Juno spacecraft goes into orbit around Jupiter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on July 4.

NASA's robotic Juno probe began circling the solar system's largest planet, ending a nearly five-year journey through deep space and becoming the first spacecraft to enter Jupiter orbit since NASA's Galileo mission did so in 1995. The mission's goals include mapping the planet's gravitational and magnetic fields and characterizing its composition and interior structure.

RINGO CHIU / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

People play with an Earth balloon during the 28th Eurockeennes music festival on July 1 in Belfort, France.

Month in Space: June 2016