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Monday, March 27, 2023

Space Photos of the Week: Shooting Stars and Dwarf Galaxies

Iron your space suit and polish your helmet, because this week we are are going intergalactic. Let’s begin by visiting a galaxy in a far-off constellation called Phoenix. This cosmic patch might look like a random arrangement of stars, and while the Phoenix Dwarf galaxy is a real galaxy, it’s still a bit … odd.

Next we sift through the debris of a comet called 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which is responsible for the Draconic meteor shower in the October skies. Did you know that meteor showers are actually the Earth intersecting a comet’s tail? When tiny particles of ice and dust burn up in our atmosphere, they create what we know as shooting stars.

Now we try on our Parker Solar Probe glasses and take a look at the center of our galaxy, using the wide angle lens on the brand spankin’ new spacecraft. The probe, which is on a six-year journey to the Sun, tested out its instruments last week and ascertained that every instrument was running and ready for its mission. Take a gander at Parker’s first image, which features our home galaxy as well as a photobomb from Jupiter.

Finally, we check out an icy crater on Mars. The temperature drops low enough here that in the winter, the CO2 in the Martian atmosphere freezes into craters, making for some really cool (not to mention cold) photos.

Want to keep zooming around in space? Take a gander at all our photos here.

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