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Best Space Photos of the Week — July 19, 2015

Wide view of Charon

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This image of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, shows canyons up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep. NASA’s New Horizons probe took the photo on July 14, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers).

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Wide view of Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons' photo of Pluto showing the heart-shaped area now informally named 'Tombaugh Regio'.

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Close up on Pluto

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Ice mountains about 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high — but no obvious craters — are visible in this photo, which was captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015 from a distance of 47,800 miles (77,000 kilometers).

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Norgay Mountains on Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Tentatively named Norgay Montes after Tenzing Norgay, who made the first ascent of Mt. Everest

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Pluto's Icy Plains

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

This annotated view of part of Pluto’s Sputnik Planum region shows an array of enigmatic features. The photo was acquired by NASA’s New Horizons probe on July 14, 2015 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers). Features as small as 0.5 miles (1 km) across are visible. The blocky appearance of some features is due to image compression.

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Pluto: Explored!

NASA TV

At the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern holds up a poster of Pluto showing the words: PLUTO: NOT YET EXPLORED, with the words "NOT YET" crossed out, shortly after the Pluto probe made its historic flyby on July 14, 2015.

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Slayton and Leonov in Soyuz

NASA

Astronaut Donald K. "Deke" Slayton embraces cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov in the Soyuz spacecraft.

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Sun Halo

Doug Wilson

Light being refracted in the atmosphere of the Earth can sometimes create a halo around the sun or moon. Similarly, light from another star being refracted in an exoplanet atmosphere can cause an increase in the amount of light detected from the star just before the planet transits.

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US Air Force Launches GPS Satellite, July 15, 2015

ULA

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying the GPS 2F-10 satellite for the U.S. Air Force, blasts off on July 15, 2015 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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Mars Rocks Up Close

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This image captured by the Mars rover Curiosity shows a rock harboring coarse, pearly feldspar crystals intermixed with small quartz crystals and dark silicate material.

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Planck Satellite Sky Map

M. Peel/JCBA/Planck/ESA

A full sky map made using the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. Loop 1, marked by the dashed ellipse, is the yellow feature above center, shading to purple, and the purple arc below center. The colors represent the angle of the magnetic field and the brightness represents the signal strength.

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