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Best Space Pictures of the Week - July 15, 2012

Hurricane Daniel's Spiraling Clouds Spotted from Space

NASA

The spiraling clouds and eye of Hurricane Daniel was spotted by a satellite as it churned away in the Pacific Ocean. [Full Story]

How Mars Rover Curiosity's Nail-Biting Landing Works

NASA

An image gallery that looks at the different stages of the Mars Science Laboratory’s descent and landing on the Red Planet. [Full Photo Gallery]

Star Trails Streak Over Mount Fuji in Serene Picture

Ajay Talwar / TWAN-India

Veteran skywatcher Ajay Talwar took a spectacular photo of star trails over one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders—Japan’s Mount Fuji. The World at Night astrophotographer captured this image in May 2012. [Full Story]

Astronaut Photo Captures Elusive, Strange Lightning

NASA Earth Observatory

A strange type of lightning called a sprite that occurs above thunderstorms and extends to the edge of space was photographed by an astronaut aboard the space station. [Full Story]

Private Spacesuit Evolution: Final Frontier Design of Brooklyn

Ted Southern/Final Frontier Design

The New York City-based startup Final Frontier Design aims to develop a $10,000 spacesuit for the commercial space industry. [Full Photo Gallery]

Strange Vortex Discovered on Saturn Moon Titan

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

- New observations from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show a polar vortex swirling over the south pole of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. [Full Story]

Pluto Has a Fifth Moon, Hubble Telescope Reveals

NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

A new moon has been discovered orbiting Pluto, bringing its total to five satellites, scientists announced today (July 11). Alan Stern, lead scientist for NASA's New Horizons probe to Pluto, announced the discovery on Twitter. [Full Story]

Amazing Northern Lights Pictures: July 2012

Paul Zizka Photography/www.zizka.ca

Night sky watcher Paul Zizka caught the aurora on July 9, 2012, at Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. [Full Photo Gallery]

Saturn's Rings Shine in Amazing Photos by Cassini Probe

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

The dazzling rings of Saturn are taking center stage in amazing new pictures snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting the planet. [Full Story]

Globules

T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and N.S. van der Bliek (NOAO/AURA/NSF)

Thackeray's Globules are opaque clouds of interstellar dust and gas large enough to potentially form stars. They lie in IC 2944, a stellar nursery located about 5,900 light years away in Centaurus. The dark globules were first spotted by South African astronomer A. D. Thackeray in 1950. This image was obtained with the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile, on Jan. 12 and Feb. 7, 2012. [More Amazing Daily Space Photos]

Red

NASA

Mysterious red sprites appear when electrical discharges take place about 50 miles (80 kilometers) up in the atmosphere during thunderstorms. The short-lived flashes only last a few milliseconds and can extend vertically 20 to 30 kilometers. Since the crimson apparitions manifest above thunderstorms, observers on the ground usually cannot see them. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station, on the other hand, have no such obstructions blocking their view. The red sprite seen here (above the bright lightning spot at right) was captured as the ISS was travelling over Myanmar (Burma) into Malaysia on April 30, 2012. [More Amazing Daily Space Photos]

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