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The week in pictures: January 21–27, 2012

"The week in pictures" highlights the amazing discoveries and cutting-edge research that resulted in magnificent photos and illustrations in the past week's Astronomy.com News section. Scroll through the photos, comment on your favorites, and click links to learn more about the science behind the pictures. We hope "The week in pictures” will not only highlight all our beautiful universe has to offer but also summarize the important stories of t

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NASA's NuSTAR ships to Vandenberg for March 14 launch

NuSTAR

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission is seen here being lowered into its shipping container at Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia. The spacecraft is headed to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California where it will be mated to its rocket. It is scheduled to launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands March 14. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Orbital

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (...

Photo from NASA Mars Orbiter shows wind's handiwork

Patterns of dune erosion and deposition provide insight into the sedimentary history of the area.

By NASA/JPL Published: January 26, 2012
Dunes-on-Mars

This enhanced-color image shows sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in Noachis Terra, Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Some images of stark martian landscapes provide visual appeal beyond their science value, including a recent scene of wind-sculpted
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The wild early lives of today's most massive galaxies

Star-forming-galaxies

Distant star-forming galaxies in the early universe. Credit: ESO

Astronomers have combined observations from the LABOCA camera on the European Southern Observatory (ESO)-operated 12-meter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope with measurements made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and others, to look at the way bright, distant galaxies are gathered together in groups or clusters.

The more closely the

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Elusive matter found to be abundant far above Earth

Cluster satellite

A rendering of the Cluster satellite, designed to measure electric fields, which Andre and Cully used to detect low-energy ions high above the Earth. Credit: European Space Agency

Cold plasma has been well hidden. Space physicists have long lacked clues to how much of this electrically charged gas exists tens of thousands of miles above Earth and how the stuff may impact our planet’s interaction with the Sun. Now, a new method developed by S...

Dawn spacecraft offers first look at giant asteroid's chemistry

Vest_Rheasilvia

This image shows an area within the Rheasilvia Basin in the south polar area of the giant asteroid Vesta. In this image, a younger, darker blanket of material ejected by an impact is in contact with a brighter, hummocky deposit marked by craters. The brighter material, which appears to be older, also shows crisscrossing, linear features. The image covers an area about 12 miles by 12 miles (20 kilometers by 20 kilometers).

Photo by

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The Helix in new colors

The nebula is a complex object composed of dust, ionized material, and molecular gas arrayed in a beautiful and intricate flower-like pattern.

By ESO, Garching, Germany Published: January 20, 2012
Helix-in-new-colors

VISTA’s look at the Helix Nebula Credit: ESO

The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) VISTA telescope, at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, has captured a striking new image of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293). This p
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The week in pictures: January 14–20, 2012

"The week in pictures" highlights the amazing discoveries and cutting-edge research that resulted in magnificent photos and illustrations in the past week's Astronomy.com News section. Scroll through the photos, comment on your favorites, and click links to learn more about the science behind the pictures. We hope "The week in pictures” will not only highlight all our beautiful universe has to offer but also summarize the important stories of t

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