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Space photos: The most amazing images this week!

The Milky Way’s monster black hole is imaged for the first time, a “mixed-up sunspot” fires off a huge flare, and a Starlink rocket launch creates a “space jellyfish.” These are some of the top images this week from Space.com.  

Say hello to our monster black hole friend 

An image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, a behemoth dubbed Sagittarius A*, revealed by the Event Horizon Telescope on May 12, 2022. (Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration)

During joint worldwide news conferences Thursday (May 12), Event Horizon Telescope scientists unveiled our first-ever view of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Imaging Sagittarius A* is another groundbreaking result for the telescope array, which generated a boatload of science to accompany the spectacular photos.

Full story: Behold! Milky Way’s monster black hole imaged for the 1st time.

Big, bright flare emerges from weirdly polarized sunspot

The sun released an X-class flare on May 10, 2022. (Image credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer.org)

A “mixed up” sunspot shot off the strongest type of flare, an X-class, within range of Earth on Tuesday (May 10). While the volley did not generate any auroras from coronal mass ejections of charged particles, the sunspot had an opposite polarization than expected, making the ejection a remarkable one for science observations.

Full story: A ‘mixed up’ sunspot just fired off a huge solar flare

The aftermath of a SpaceX Starlink launch May 6, 2022 sprawls across the sky. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Florida’s Space Coast got treated to a sky glow, dubbed a “space jellyfish”, due to atmospheric physics associated with a recent SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch of Starlink satellites. The May 6 event came after gas in the nozzle was released into the lower-pressure air, within striking range of light from the rising sun.

Full story: SpaceX Starlink launch spawns spectacular glowing cloud in predawn sky

Old Hubble Space Telescope data reveals streaking asteroids

A Hubble image taken on Dec. 5, 2005 of the Main Belt asteroid 2001 SE101 passing in front of the Crab Nebula.   (Image credit: © NASA/ESA HST, Image processing: Melina Thévenot)

Astronomers spotted the trails of nearly 1,500 new asteroids hidden in data gathered by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The project was generated from a space rock search in the “Hubble Asteroid Hunter” project on Zooniverse, a popular platform for crowdsourcing science. 

Full story: Astronomers discover asteroid treasure trove in old Hubble Space Telescope data

Webb captures Large Magellanic Cloud in unprecedented infrared detail

A comparison of views of the same part of the sky as seen by NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope and the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (left), NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI (right))

A new commissioning image in infrared from the James Webb Space Telescope showed a neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way, called the Large Magellanic Cloud. The unprecedented sharp views of stars in the galaxy next door came from its coldest instrument, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI).

Full story: James Webb Space Telescope enters ‘homestretch’ of commissioning with stunning image

Astronauts from Crew-3 ‘waltz’ in spacesuits

The four astronauts of SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission for NASA float in a space “waltz” on the International Space Station in this still taken during spacesuit fit checks ahead of the astronauts’ return to Earth in May 2022. Maurer shared the video on Twitter on May 2, 2022. (Image credit: Matthias Maurer/European Space Agency)

The Crew-3 astronauts gave a nod to the classic “2001” space movie in an epic new video, showing them flying formation in SpaceX spacesuits while preparing to return to Earth. The new video, shared by European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, is set to the iconic “The Blue Danube” waltz by Johann Strauss II made famous to space fans in the 1968 film.

Full story: Watch SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts ‘waltz’ in space in fun spacesuit video

A magnetic ‘flip’ is caught in a huge black hole

An artist’s depiction of a supermassive black hole before flaring up. (Image credit: NASA/Sonoma State University, Aurore Simonnet)

Scientists might have seen a monster black hole changing polarities. A galaxy known as 1ES 1927+654, briefly ceased X-ray emissions for a few months, then resumed and increased. These black hole observations represent a unique situation so far.

Full story: Monster black hole might have executed a magnetic ‘flip’

A royal-looking spiral galaxy shines in purple

The spiral galaxy Messier 66 looks stunning in this amazing new view from the European Southern Observatory. (Image credit: ESO/PHANGS)

Golden and purple gas shine in Messier 66 (M66) in a striking new image, released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The multiple observations revealed a selection of gasses — oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur — ionized by young stars. The image was released by ESO on May 2. 

Full story: This spiral galaxy looks positively royal in vibrant new image

It’s a new phase for DARPA’s ‘Glide Breaker’ hypersonic missile

Artist’s conception of Glide Breaker in action. (Image credit: DARPA)

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is ready for Phase 2 of the Glide Breaker program to knock hypersonic missiles out of the sky. The agency is seeking proposals “to conduct wind tunnel and flight testing of jet interaction effects,” DARPA officials announced on April 15.

Full story: DARPA’s ‘Glide Breaker’ hypersonic missile interceptor program enters new phase

Star survives the aftermath of its explosive companion

An artist’s depiction of a supernova blasting a companion star, seen in the lower right. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI))

The Hubble Space Telescope found a survivor star that persisted despite the violent death of its companion. The supernova explosion event, called SN 2013ge, has included a persistent nearby source of ultraviolet light. This suggests a surviving binary companion, according to a statement from NASA.

Full story: Hubble Space Telescope spots star that survived violent explosion of neighbor

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

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