Pictures from space! Our image of the day


Feeling blue: The difference between Uranus and Neptune’s colors is hazy

Now we might know why Neptune is a deeper blue in the face than Uranus. It comes down to a deep atmospheric layer that is full of haze. Neptune tends to recycle methane particles more quickly than Uranus in that middle layer, so the haze builds up on Uranus and turns it whiter. We might get lucky enough to take a closer look in a few decades, since a new government document suggests a Uranus mission should be NASA’s highest-priority large planetary science mission and launch in the 2030s. — Elizabeth Howell

A bright shooting star shines above Red Planet-like rock

This image of a tau Herculids meteor looks like it belongs on Mars, but it actually was taken from a ruddy area of Nevada. The shooting star was captured May 30 from the Valley of Fire State Park as Earth ran into numerous shards from comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, or SW3. There was no storm of shooting stars as some had hoped, but many meteor watchers around the world caught bright streakers like this one. — Elizabeth Howell

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