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Best Space Photos of the Week – Dec. 20, 2015

Dust Devil 'Swarm' Races Across Martian Plain

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona (Edit by Ian O'Neill/Discovery News)

By now most of us know that Mars is a windy planet (well, not as windy as “The Martian” would have us believe), where active aeolian processes shape the landscape continuously. Active dune fields are evidence of the large-scale transport of fine Mars sand whereas dust devils (like miniature tornadoes) show us the small scale and short-lived atmospheric processes that can sculpt dark tracks into the surface. [Read the full story.]

Dust Devil 'Swarm' Races Across Martian Plain

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

By now most of us know that Mars is a windy planet (well, not as windy as “The Martian” would have us believe), where active aeolian processes shape the landscape continuously. Active dune fields are evidence of the large-scale transport of fine Mars sand whereas dust devils (like miniature tornadoes) show us the small scale and short-lived atmospheric processes that can sculpt dark tracks into the surface. [Read the full story.]

Cosmic Lightsaber Slices Through Clouds in Awesome New Image

ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Padgett (GSFC), T. Megeath (University of Toledo), and B. Reipurth (University of Hawaii)

A powerful lightsaber slices through the dark clouds of dust and gas that surround it. It's not a scene from the new "Star Wars" movie but an image captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. [Read the full story.]

Cosmic Lightsaber Slices Through Clouds in Awesome New Image

NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey 2; Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

A powerful lightsaber slices through the dark clouds of dust and gas that surround it. It's not a scene from the new "Star Wars" movie but an image captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. [Read the full story.]

Incredible New Photos Reveal Pluto's Pits and Other Terrain

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto's complex geology just got a little less mysterious thanks to two incredible new photos from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.[Read the full story.]

Incredible New Photos Reveal Pluto's Pits and Other Terrain

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto's complex geology just got a little less mysterious thanks to two incredible new photos from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.[Read the full story.]

Strange Patterns on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Bright and dark patterns with curving boundaries are seen on the surface of Mars. Image released Dec. 10, 2015. [Read the full story.]

Planetary Nebula NGC 3699

ESO

NGC 3699 is a planetary nebula imaged by the ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (EFOSC2) at ESO's La Silla Observatory. Image released Dec. 14, 2015. [Read the full story.]

2015 Geminid Meteor Over Missouri

Eddie Popovits

Astrophotographer Eddie Popovits sent in a photo of a Geminid meteor streaking through the sky over Branson, Missouri, on Dec. 15, 2015. [Read the full story.]

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