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Week's Best Space Pictures: Close-up on Ceres' Bright Spots
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 11 September 2015.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe every Friday with our picks of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, plasma dances across the sun's surface, a robot prototype tumbles closer to a future space launch, and Saturn gets blurry.

1. Star Trail

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A composite of five images shows the International Space Station - with nine crew-members on board - as it crosses in front of our sun on Sunday, September 6.

2. Kilo's Eye

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Typhoon Kilo continues to churn away northeast of Japan in the western Pacific Ocean. Last week, Kilo was one of three simultaneous category 4 hurricanes spotted in the Pacific - a first for the ocean.

3. Dancing

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Powerful magnetic field lines caused a blob of plasma (lower right) to writhe and spin above the sun's surface for nearly 40 hours last week. This extreme ultraviolet image shows particles simmering at five million degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Blurred

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Dione, a moon, hovers in sharp relief above Saturn's rings while the planet is out of focus. This image was taken at a wavelength that absorbs methane. Darker areas contain thicker methane clouds than lighter regions.

5. Hedgehog

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These cube-shaped robots may soon hop and tumble their way across asteroids and comets - a better way to navigate treacherous terrain than with a wheeled vehicle. Called "hedgehogs," the robots remain operational no matter their orientation.

6. Spots

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The Dawn spacecraft snapped high-res images of dwarf planet Ceres' bright spots, located in the Occator crater. This is a composite of two images: One exposed correctly to show the spots and a second with details of the darker surroundings.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added]

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