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Space Image of the Day Gallery (January 2014)

Pacific Ocean Blue

Jim Reynolds

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014: Astrophotographer Jim Reynolds sent in a photo of the night sky. He writes in an e-mail message to SPACE.com: “This shot is a 30-second exposure taken one hour after sunset looking west from the California coast. Venus, a meteor and the Milky Way are evident over the Pacific Ocean. The reflection of Venus is genuine.” Image submitted Jan. 25, 2014.

— Tom Chao

Out on a Limb

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014: MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury obtained this image of the limb of the planet on Nov. 21, 2013. The Tolstoj basin (220 miles or 355 km in diameter) lies at the bottom edge of the frame, its center filled with smooth plains. A large region of low-reflectance ejecta surrounds it. The image also shows the fresh, bright-rayed crater Nureyev visible near the limb. This image was acquired as part of MDIS's limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere. See more MESSENGER images of Mercury.

— Tom Chao

Some Galaxies Are Bigger Than Others

Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Friday, Jan. 31, 2014: The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope captured this image of the Andromeda galaxy (Messier 31), a giant spiral galaxy. It lies only two million light years away from our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Andromeda and the Milky Way match each other roughly in size, and both exceed the dimensions of the few dozens of irregular and dwarf galaxies than make up the rest of our local group of galaxies.

— Tom Chao

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