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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S BEST SPACE PICTURES THIS WEEK CIII


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Week's Best Space Pictures: Hubble Reveals Monster Stars
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 18 March 2016.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our pick of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, Hubble unveils stars more than 100 times more massive than the sun, astronauts aboard the International Space Station capture the scars of coal mining, and the Cassini spacecraft spots Enceladus half-draped in darkness.

1. Glittering Giants

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Hubble unveils nine enormous stars in the R136 star cluster, about 170,000 light-years away. Together, the nine stars - each more than 100 times more massive than the sun - outshine the sun by a factor of 30 million.

2. Blast-Off Blessing

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An Orthodox priest blesses members of the media at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launchpad in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz rocket will carry three new crew members to the International Space Station.

3. Scars of Seams

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An astronaut aboard the International Space Station snapped this picture of Wyoming's Gillette Coal Pits. The Powder River Basin, where Gillette is situated, is a major source of low-sulfur coal.

4. Hiding in Plain Sight

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Researchers have discovered "super spiral" galaxies in NASA archival photos. Among the universe's largest and brightest galaxies, they eluded discovery by mimicking the appearance of typical spiral galaxies.

5. Night and Day

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NASA's Cassini spacecraft spots Saturn's moon Enceladus, half-draped in shadow. Enceladus is one of the brightest objects in the solar system; its water ice surface reflects almost all of the sunlight that strikes it.

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

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