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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S BEST SPACE PICTURES THIS WEEK LXXXVIII


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Week’s Best Space Pictures: Galaxies Smirk and Volcanoes Make Waves
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 27 November 2015.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our pick of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, volcanoes leave rippled clouds in their wake, galaxies warp light into a grin, and one of Ceres’ largest craters gets a close-up.

1. Making Waves

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Mountain-wave clouds flow to the northeast over the southern Indian Ocean’s Prince Edward Islands. The islands’ volcanic peaks create ripples in the air and clouds, much like a boat in water.

2. Galactic Grin

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The smiling Cheshire Cat group of galaxies glows with X-rays (purple). The Cheshire Cat’s “grin” is light from other galaxies warped by its mass, mostly dark matter. A new study says its “eyes” will collide in less than a billion years.

3. Snow-Covered Mitten

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On November 22, NASA’s Aqua satellite snapped a photo of snow blanketing the U.S. Midwest, including much of southern Michigan.

4. The Scars of Youth

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The oddly named galaxy 2MASX J16270254+4328340 formed from two colliding galaxies, which jettisoned trails of stars that look like mist. The galaxy’s turbulent youth essentially used up its star-making gases, leaving it sterile.

5. Flood in the Sand

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Flood waters seep north of the Tigris River and the town of Wāsit, Iraq. Torrential rains in late October brought severe flooding to Iraq, Iran, and other parts of the Middle East. Close to 84,000 people have been displaced.

6. Bruised and Bubbling

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft snaps a photo of Urvara, a crater on the dwarf planet Ceres that spans 170 kilometres (106 miles). A new model of Ceres suggests that its interior could contain pockets of ammonia-rich brines that spurt as ice volcanoes.

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

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