Space 31 May 2016 The best Instagram accounts to follow if you love space As new space findings hit the news on an almost daily basis, the app offers an alternative window onto the universe. NASA Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up If there’s anything that can break us away from the humdrum monotony of modern life, it’s space. It renders us awe-struck and captures our imagination with its vastness and surreal imagery, and as astronomy-related research expands, cosmic mysteries continue to unfold. Whether it’s the occurrence of rare celestial events, the discovery of exoplanets that could potentially harbour life, or the confirmation of gravitational waves that ripple through the space-time continuum, it seems that there are new findings propelled onto our newsfeeds daily. Yet one of the best ways of keeping up to date with the latest research and projects at the frontier of space is on Instagram, the social media platform. Here are some of the accounts you should be following to get the greatest insight into space: 1. SpaceX (@spacex) The aerospace company SpaceX designs spacecrafts and reusable rockets in the hope that their technology can one day make human life multi-planetary. Spearheaded be CEO Elon Musk, the company has the lofty ambition of one day colonising Mars. Below is a spectacular image of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket in its first-stage entry: Photographer unexpectedly captures Falcon 9 second stage burn and first stage entry @slowcountrylife A photo posted by SpaceX (@spacex) on May 18, 2016 at 5:00pm PDT 2. International Space Station (@iss) The International Space Station, a habitable satellite whirling around the Earth approximately 16 times per day in low orbit, has an Instagram feed displaying the equipment on board as well as stunning pictures of the Earth from a distance. Here’s a picture from the station 250 miles above earth depicting the Earth as an azure blue marble: The blue of the #bahamas can't be mistaken, even from 250 miles above. #YearInSpace #nasa #space #spacestation : @stationcdrkelly A photo posted by International Space Station (@iss) on Feb 15, 2016 at 2:15pm PST 3. Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) Currently aboard the International Space Station is Tim Peake, a British astronaut. As he has carried out his work on Expedition 46/47 on the station, he has shared a range of photos of Earth that he has shot with his Nikon D4 from the vantage point of space, from reefs off the coast of Mozambique to the glint of sun highlighting Vancouver Island. Here we have a clear image of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”: 3/3: The Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ clear to see amongst the volcanoes of Kamchatka, Russia A photo posted by Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) on May 21, 2016 at 12:02pm PDT 4. Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) Scott Kelly is an engineer and a retired American astronaut who recently spent a year commanding the International Space Station, travelling 143,846,525 miles around our globe in the process. A quick scroll through his profile will demonstrate just how profound his experience must have been at the shores of space, and includes a host of images of the aurora borealis: #GoodMorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace #northernlights #beautiful #morning #space #spacestation #iss A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on Jan 20, 2016 at 7:45am PST 5. Nasa Goddard (@nasagoddard) Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre was the company’s very first flight centre. It’s the largest of its kind, and the official Instagram account for the centre serves as a highlight reel for everything NASA is working on. There are behind-the-scenes looks at the James Webb Space Telescope under construction, computer-simulated images of supermassive black holes, and clear views of distant galaxies captured by the Hubble Space Telescope: Observations by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have taken advantage of gravitational lensing to reveal the largest sample of the faintest and earliest known galaxies in the universe. Some of these galaxies formed just 600 million years after the big bang and are fainter than any other galaxy yet uncovered by Hubble. The team has determined for the first time with some confidence that these small galaxies were vital to creating the universe that we see today. An international team of astronomers, led by Hakim Atek of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, has discovered over 250 tiny galaxies that existed only 600-900 million years after the big bang— one of the largest samples of dwarf galaxies yet to be discovered at these epochs. The light from these galaxies took over 12 billion years to reach the telescope, allowing the astronomers to look back in time when the universe was still very young. Although impressive, the number of galaxies found at this early epoch is not the team’s only remarkable breakthrough, as Johan Richard from the Observatoire de Lyon, France, points out. “The faintest galaxies detected in these Hubble observations are fainter than any other yet uncovered in the deepest Hubble observations.” By looking at the light coming from the galaxies the team discovered that the accumulated light emitted by these galaxies could have played a major role in one of the most mysterious periods of the universe’s early history — the epoch of reionization. Reionization started when the thick fog of hydrogen gas that cloaked the early universe began to clear. Ultraviolet light was now able to travel over larger distances without being blocked and thus the universe became transparent to ultraviolet light. Credit: NASA/ESA #nasagoddard #Hubble #HST #space #galaxy A photo posted by NASA Goddard (@nasagoddard) on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:46am PDT 6. Roscosmos (@roscosmosofficial) Roscosmos is the Russian Federal Space Agency at the heart of all space endeavours in Russia. The agency is involved in the maintenance and progression of the International Space Station, and is working on its own research projects such as a planned robotic mission to one of Mars’s moons. Here’s the launch of a rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome which is under construction: Фотографии первого пуска ракеты космического назначения «Союз-2.1а» с космодрома Восточный можно посмотреть на наших официальных страницах в соцсетях ВКонтакте и Facebook. Активная ссылка в описании профиля. You can find more photos from Vostochny Cosmodrome on our official pages in Facebook or Vkontakte. Link in Instagram's profile area. #роскосмос #космос #космодром #Восточный #Россия #cosmos #space #cosmodrome #Vostochny #Russia #roscosmos A photo posted by Роскосмос/Roscosmos (@roscosmosofficial) on Apr 28, 2016 at 12:54am PDT 7. Nasa (@nasa) Over the years, Nasa has firmly committed to pushing the boundaries of space exploration, and, as its 12.3m Instagram acolytes would agree, it has been successful. As part of the Frontier Fields campaign investigating galaxy clusters, a recent deep field image from the Hubble revealed bounds of galaxies in the constellation of Leo: Nearly as deep as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, this incredible image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals thousands of colorful galaxies in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). This vibrant view of the early universe was captured as part of the Frontier Fields campaign, which aims to investigate galaxy clusters in more detail than ever before, and to explore some of the most distant galaxies in the universe. Galaxy clusters are massive. They can have a tremendous impact on their surroundings, with their immense gravity warping and amplifying the light from more distant objects. This phenomenon, known as gravitational lensing, can help astronomers to see galaxies that would otherwise be too faint, aiding our hunt for residents of the primordial universe. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt #nasa #hubble #astronomy #science #space #galaxy #galaxies A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on May 29, 2016 at 9:37am PDT › Is Britain about to leave the European Union? Subscribe For more great writing from our award-winning journalists subscribe for just £1 per month!