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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S BEST SPACE PICTURES THIS WEEK CXIV


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See Neptune Sprout a New Dark Spot
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 23 June 2016.

This week, Hubble spots a dark vortex on Neptune for the first time in decades, satellites track fires and globetrotting dust, and young stars blow away their planet-forming disks with powerful radiation.

1. Dark and Stormy

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For the first time since 1994, Hubble has spotted a dark vortex in Neptune's southern hemisphere. It's hiding under clouds in full-colour images (left), so the vortex is most visible at blue light wavelengths (right).

2. Stellar Nursery

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This Hubble pictures shows the star cluster NGC 1854, a hotbed of star formation about 135,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our closest galactic neighbours.

3. Summer in Space

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From 1.7 million miles (2.7 million kilometres) away, NASA's Cassini spacecraft eyes Saturn during its northern hemisphere summer. The planet's hexagonal jet stream is visible at its north pole.

4. Smoking Hot

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Since it began on June 15, the Sherpa Fire in Santa Barbara County, California, has burned more than 12 square miles (31 square kilometres). This false-colour image, taken by NASA's Terra satellite, shows smoke rising from the scene.

5. Particle Accelerator?

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In mid-June 2016, winds lofted dust plumes from northern Africa’s deserts high into the air. Such events have far-reaching impacts: Dust from Africa helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon.

6. One-Two Punch

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[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added.]

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