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Friday, 3 January 2014

A New Year’s Photo Album

Window on Infinity: 
 The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years, and has been gorgeous for every one of them—as this year-end collection of images from 2013 helps prove.
A still image taken from a NASA movie of the sun based on data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), showing the wide range of wavelengths, invisible to the naked eye, that the telescope can view.

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A composite image of the flow of material inside and outside a crater called Aelia on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta, from NASA's Dawn mission, released on Dec. 16, 2013.

 The Antonia caldera on the large asteroid—or protoplanet—Vesta, from NASA's Dawn mission, released on Dec. 16, 2013.

A still image taken from a NASA movie of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon," released Dec. 4, 2013. The movie, made from images obtained by Cassini's imaging cameras, is the first to show the hexagon in color filters, and the first movie to show a complete view from the north pole down to about 70 degrees north latitude.

The most detailed view of the entire Crab Nebula to date, taken with Hubble's WFPC2 camera and released by NASA on Dec. 16, 2013. The Crab Nebula is one of the most intricately structured and highly dynamic cosmic objects ever observed. The new Hubble image of the Crab was assembled from 24 individual exposures.

Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was visible in the northern hemisphere, during that part of the planet's winter when NASA's Cassini spacecraft arrived in 2004. The signature color is likely due to reduction of ultraviolet sunlight and the haze it produces.

The Orbital Science Corporation Antares rocket shortly after it was raised into position at launch Pad-0A, on Dec. 17, 2013, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The rocket is scheduled to take off on a resupply mission to the International Space Station sometime on or after Jan. 7, 2014.
Spectators watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, carrying a classified payload from the U.S. government's National Reconnaissance Office, lifts-off at the Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2013.
A flat-topped mesa is located in the center of Hebes Chasma on Mars and rises to a similar height as the surrounding plains. Exposed within the walls of the mesa are layers of sediments deposited by wind and water. Numerous grooves are etched into the mountain, suggesting the material is weak and easily eroded.