Astronaut shares incredible video of rapid lightning strikes from space

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Astronaut Shares Incredible Video Of Rapid Lightning Strikes From Space

Lightning is often a wonder to behold, and ESA astronaut Tim Peake recently shared a timelapse video sure to satisfy storm watchers everywhere.

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The footage, taken from the International Space Station, shows a succession of rapid lightning strikes over Turkey and North Africa.

From his prime vantage point, the long line of bolts greatly resembles a string of firecrackers.

Peake posted the stunning visual on Twitter along with the message, "Amazing how much lightning can strike our planet in a short time #Principia #timelapse."

Click through some of the best space photos from last month:

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Astronaut shares incredible video of rapid lightning strikes from space

January 26, 2015

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "#Italy and the #Alps last night were breathtaking! #YearInSpace"

January 9, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Cool frozen lake in #Himalayas! #YearInSpace"

January 10, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "Day 289. Out over the blue. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 21, 2016

Astronaut Scott Kelly showed the world one of the unusual benefits of microgravity for astronauts living on board the International Space Station - liquid ping pong. NASA released video on Jan. 21 showing Kelly using a set of hydrophobic paddles and a ball of water and playing ping pong in space. (Photo via NASA)

January 31, 2016

Tim Peake (‏@astro_timpeake): "#London midnight Saturday – I’d rather be up here…but only just!! #toughcall https://flic.kr/p/DuxPKA"

January 23, 2016

A massive winter storm system pummeled the eastern United States in late January 2016, with two low-pressure systems merging into a potent nor’easter that dropped heavy snow from Virginia to New England. By late afternoon on Jan. 23, snowfall totals were approaching records in several states, and hurricane-force winds were battering the coastlines and leading to serious flooding. The storm was expected to continue through the morning of Jan. 24.

(Photo via NOAA/NASA)

January 23, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 302. #Blizzard2016 gave us an impressive view below. Stay warm! #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 20, 2016

This artistic rendering provided by California Institute of Technology shows the distant view from Planet Nine back towards the sun. The planet is thought to be gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune. Hypothetical lightning lights up the night side. Scientists reported Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, they finally have "good evidence" for Planet X, a true ninth planet on the fringes of our solar system. (R. Hurt/Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/Courtesy of California Institute of Technology via AP)

January 20, 2016

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and ESA astronaut Tim Peake shared a series of aurora photographs taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 20, 2016. Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) wrote, "#goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace" and Peake (@astro_timpeake) followed up with, "Getting a photo masterclass from @StationCDRKelly – magical #aurora"

The dancing lights of the aurora provide spectacular views on the ground, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.

(Photo via ESA/NASA)

January 21, 2016

These blue-white stars are burning their hydrogen fuel so ferociously they will explode as supernovae in just a few million years. The combination of outflowing stellar “winds” and, ultimately, supernova blast waves will carve out cavities in nearby clouds of gas and dust. These fireworks will kick-start the beginning of a new generation of stars in an ongoing cycle of star birth and death.

(Photo via NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain), Acknowledgment: N. Smith (University of Arizona))

January 11, 2016

Mars' seasonal cap of carbon dioxide ice has eroded many beautiful terrains as it sublimates (goes directly from ice to vapor) every spring. In the region where the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image, we see troughs that form a starburst pattern. In other areas these radial troughs have been refered to as spiders, simply because of their shape. In this region the pattern looks more dendritic as channels branch out numerous times as they get further from the center.

The troughs are believed to be formed by gas flowing beneath the seasonal ice to openings where the gas escapes, carrying along dust from the surface below. The dust falls to the surface of the ice in fan-shaped deposits.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

January 16, 2016

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly shared photographs of a blooming zinnia flower in the Veggie plant growth system aboard the International Space Station. Kelly wrote, "Yes, there are other life forms in space! #SpaceFlower #YearInSpace"

This flowering crop experiment began on Nov. 16, 2015, when NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren activated the Veggie system and its rooting "pillows" containing zinnia seeds. The challenging process of growing the zinnias provided an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity, and for astronauts to practice doing what they’ll be tasked with on a deep space mission: autonomous gardening. In late December, Kelly found that the plants "weren't looking too good," and told the ground team, “You know, I think if we’re going to Mars, and we were growing stuff, we would be responsible for deciding when the stuff needed water. Kind of like in my backyard, I look at it and say ‘Oh, maybe I should water the grass today.’ I think this is how this should be handled.”

The Veggie team on Earth created what was dubbed “The Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener,” and gave basic guidelines for care while putting judgment capabilities into the hands of the astronaut who had the plants right in front of him. Rather than pages and pages of detailed procedures that most science operations follow, the care guide was a one-page, streamlined resource to support Kelly as an autonomous gardener. Soon, the flowers were on the rebound, and on Jan. 12, pictures showed the first peeks of petals beginning to sprout on a few buds.

(Photo via NASA)

January 12, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "#EarthArt Out of #Africa. #GoodMorning people of Earth from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 15, 2016

ESA astronaut Tim Peake took this picture during his 4 hour 43 minute spacewalk to replace a failed power regulator and install cabling.

The meticulously planned and executed sortie was stopped early after fellow spacewalker NASA astronaut Tim Kopra reported a small amount of water building up in his helmet. The two Tims worked in close cooperation with each other to return to the Space Station, with NASA commander Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Sergei Volkov waiting inside to help them out of their suits.

Tim commented on this picture: "Today’s exhilarating spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!"

Follow Tim Peake and his six-month Principia mission via timpeake.esa.int

(Photo via ESA/NASA)

January 3, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "The Southern tip of #India and its blue waters. #YearInSpace"

January 14, 2016

Scientists with NASA’s New Horizons mission have assembled this highest-resolution color view of one of two potential cryovolcanoes spotted on the surface of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015.

This feature, known as Wright Mons, was informally named by the New Horizons team in honor of the Wright brothers. At about 90 miles (150 kilometers) across and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high, this feature is enormous. If it is in fact an ice volcano, as suspected, it would be the largest such feature discovered in the outer solar system.

Mission scientists are intrigued by the sparse distribution of red material in the image and wonder why it is not more widespread. Also perplexing is that there is only one identified impact crater on Wright Mons itself, telling scientists that the surface (as well as some of the crust underneath) was created relatively recently. This is turn may indicate that Wright Mons was volcanically active late in Pluto’s history.

(Photo via NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

January 14, 2016

This processed image is the highest-resolution color look yet at the haze layers in Pluto’s atmosphere. Shown in approximate true color, the picture is constructed from a mosaic of four panchromatic images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) splashed with Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) four-color filter data, all acquired by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015. The resolution is 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) per pixel; the sun illuminates the scene from the right.

Scientists believe the haze is a photochemical smog resulting from the action of sunlight on methane and other molecules in Pluto’s atmosphere, producing a complex mixture of hydrocarbons such as acetylene and ethylene.  These hydrocarbons accumulate into small particles, a fraction of a micrometer in size, and scatter sunlight to make the bright blue haze seen in this image.

As they settle down through the atmosphere, the haze particles form numerous intricate, horizontal layers, some extending for hundreds of miles around Pluto. The haze layers extend to altitudes of over 120 miles (200 kilometers).

Adding to the stark beauty of this image are mountains on Pluto’s limb (on the right, near the 4 o’clock position), surface features just within the limb to the right, and crepuscular rays (dark finger-like shadows to the left) extending from Pluto’s topographic features. 

(Photo via NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

January 29, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Had a great view of #WashingtonDC yesterday morning! #YearInSpace"

January 24, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "#blizzard2016 clearly seen off the #EastCoast as the sun begins to rise. Hope all OK! #BlizzardJonas #YearInSpace"

January 23, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Rare #thundersnow visible from @Space_Station in #blizzard2016! #Snowzilla #snowmaggedon2016 #YearInSpace"

January 12, 2016

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows Kupalo Crater, one of the youngest craters on Ceres. The crater has bright material exposed on its rim and walls, which could be salts. Its flat floor likely formed from impact melt and debris.

(Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

January 25, 2016

This half-lit view of Enceladus bears a passing resemblance to similar views of Earth's own natural satellite, but the similarities end there. Earth's rocky moon is covered in dark, volcanic basins and brighter, mountainous highlands -- both exceedingly ancient. The surface of icy Enceladus is uniformly bright, far brighter than Earth's moon. Large areas of Enceladus' surface are characterized by youthful (on geologic timescales), wrinkled terrains.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

January 25, 2016

Expedition 46 flight engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA) shared this stunning nighttime photograph with his social media followers on Jan. 25, 2016, writing, "Beautiful night pass over Italy, Alps and Mediterranean." (Photo via NASA)

January 6, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "This is a good example of the air pollution that exists across large parts of Asia. #YearInSpace"

January 4, 2016

What looks like a pair of Saturnian satellites is actually a trio upon close inspection.

Here, Cassini has captured Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) above the rings and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) below.  The comparatively tiny speck of Atlas (19 miles or 30 kilometers across) can also be seen just above and to the left of Rhea, and just above the thin line of Saturn's F ring.

(Photo via NASA)

January 18, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Honoring #MLKDay from @space_station. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the smallest step." #YearInSpace"

January 5, 2016

ESA astronaut Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) took this photograph over the west coast of Canada from the International Space Station on Dec. 31, 2015, and shared it with his Twitter followers on Jan. 5, writing, "I was lucky enough to fly a helicopter in these Rocky Mountains once – I’m a bit higher this time! #Principia"

The photograph shows Canada's Coast Range of mountains, with King Island and Burke Channel in the center. The Pacific Ocean is visible at the bottom and north is to the left.

(Photo via ESA/NASA)

January 15, 2016

The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is known as NGC 3597. It is the product of a collision between two good-sized galaxies, and is slowly evolving to become a giant elliptical galaxy. This type of galaxy has grown more and more common as the universe has evolved, with initially small galaxies merging and progressively building up into larger galactic structures over time.

NGC 3597 is located approximately 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Crater (The Cup). Astronomers study NGC 3597 to learn more about how elliptical galaxies form — many ellipticals began their lives far earlier in the history of the universe. Older ellipticals are nicknamed “red and dead” by astronomers because these bloated galaxies are not anymore producing new, bluer stars, and are thus packed full of old and redder stellar populations.

Before infirmity sets in, some freshly formed elliptical galaxies experience a final flush of youth, as is the case with NGC 3597. Galaxies smashing together pool their available gas and dust, triggering new rounds of star birth. Some of this material ends up in dense pockets initially called proto-globular clusters, dozens of which festoon NGC 3597. These pockets will go on to collapse and form fully-fledged globular clusters, large spheres that orbit the centers of galaxies like satellites, packed tightly full of millions of stars.

(Photo via ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt, Caption via European Space Agency)

January 14, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Advice from a #volcano: keep your inner fire burning. #YearInSpace"

January 8, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 287. Another week done with a flash of #lightning. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 19, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "A splash of #EarthArt over the #Bahamas! #YearInSpace"

January 15, 2016

ESA astronaut Tim Peake during his 4 hour 43 minute spacewalk to replace a failed power regulator and install cabling.

The meticulously planned and executed sortie was stopped early after fellow spacewalker NASA astronaut Tim Kopra reported a small amount of water building up in his helmet. The two Tims worked in close cooperation with each other to return to the Space Station, with NASA commander Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Sergei Volkov waiting inside to help them out of their suits.

Tim commented on this picture: "Today’s exhilarating spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!"

Follow Tim Peake and his six-month Principia mission via timpeake.esa.int

(Photo via ESA/NASA)

January 20, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "More morning's #aurora! #YearInSpace"

January 14, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "Day 293. #Spacewalk on a new dawn & #UK will have a new star out there! #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 7, 2016

Astronomers have made the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster using three of NASA’s Great Observatories, as described in our latest press release. This multi-wavelength image shows this galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), in X-rays from the Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope in green, and infrared light from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. 

This rare galaxy cluster, which is located 10 billion light years from Earth, weighs almost 500 trillion Suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these mega-structures formed and evolved early in the Universe. Astronomers have observed IDCS 1426 when the universe was less than a third of its current age. It is the most massive galaxy cluster detected at such an early age. 

First discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2012, IDCS 1426 was then observed using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory to determine its distance. Observations from the Combined Array for Millimeter Wave Astronomy indicated it was extremely massive. New data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory confirm the galaxy cluster mass and show that about 90% of the mass of the cluster is in the form of dark matter, the mysterious substance that has so far been detected only through its gravitational pull on normal matter composed of atoms. 

There is a region of bright X-ray emission (seen as blue-white) near the middle of the cluster, but not exactly at the center. The location of this “core” of gas suggests that the cluster has had a collision or interaction with another massive system of galaxies relatively recently, perhaps within about the last 500 million years. This would cause the core to “slosh” around like wine in a moving glass and become offset as it appears to be in the Chandra data. Such a merger would not be surprising, given that astronomers are observing IDCS 1426 when the Universe was only 3.8 billion years old. So that an enormous structure can form so rapidly, scientists think mergers with smaller clusters would likely play a role in a large cluster’s growth.

This core, while still extremely hot, contains cooler gas than its surroundings. This is the most distant galaxy cluster where such a “cool core” of gas has been observed. Astronomers think these cool cores are important in understanding how quickly hot gas cools off in clusters, influencing the rate of stars at which stars are born. This cooling rate can be slowed down by outbursts from a supermassive black hole in the center of the cluster. Apart from the cool core, the hot gas in the cluster is remarkably symmetrical and smooth. This is another piece of evidence that IDCS 1426 formed very rapidly and quickly in the early Universe. Despite the high mass and rapid evolution of this cluster, its existence does not pose a threat to the standard model of cosmology.

These results were presented at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Florida. They are also in a paper accepted to The Astrophysical Journal and available online. The authors are Mark Brodwin (University of Missouri in Kansas City, Missouri), Michael McDonald (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts), Anthony Gonzalez (University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida), Spencer Stanford (University of California in Davis, California), Peter Eisenhardt (California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California), Daniel Stern (California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California) and Gregory Zeimann (Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania).

(Photo via X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Missouri/M.Brodwin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: JPL/CalTech)

January 15, 2016

In a far-off galaxy, 12.4 billion light-years from Earth, a ravenous black hole is devouring galactic grub. Its feeding frenzy produces so much energy, it stirs up gas across its entire galaxy.

"It is like a pot of boiling water being heated up by a nuclear reactor in the center," said Tanio Diaz-Santos of the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile, lead author of a new study about this galaxy.

This galaxy, called W2246-0526, is the most luminous galaxy known, according to research published in 2015, based on data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). That means that it has the highest power output of any galaxy in the universe, and would appear to shine the brightest if all galaxies were at the same distance from us.

The new study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, reveals that this galaxy is also expelling tremendously turbulent gas -- a phenomenon never seen before in an object of this kind.

"This galaxy is tearing itself apart," said Roberto Assef, astronomer with the Universidad Diego Portales and leader of the observing team at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. "The momentum and energy of the particles of light deposited in the gas are so great that they are pushing the gas out in all directions."

(Photo via NRAO/AUI/NSF; Dana Berry / SkyWorks; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

January 4, 2016

This view of the downwind face of "Namib Dune" on Mars covers 360 degrees, including a portion of Mount Sharp on the horizon. The site is part of the dark-sand "Bagnold Dunes" field along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. Images taken from orbit indicate that dunes in the Bagnold field move as much as about 3 feet (1 meter) per Earth year.

The component images of this scene were taken on Dec. 18, 2015, by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the 1,197th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

January 22, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): Massive #snowstorm blanketing #EastCoast clearly visible from @Space_Station! Stay safe! #blizzard2016 #YearInSpace

January 15, 2016

Scientists may have spotted the most powerful supernova ever seen, some 3.8 billion light years away in deep space.

Named ASASSN-15lh, it looks like a huge ball of hot gas and is radiating the energy of hundreds of billions of Suns. Ten miles across at its center, this object is putting on quite a show, creating a cosmic explosion about 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova and more than twice as luminous as the previous record-holding supernova.

“ASASSN-15lh is the most powerful supernova discovered in human history,” Subo Dong, an astronomer and a Youth Qianren Research Professor at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University and the lead author on a study on the supernova in the journal Science, said in a statement. “The explosion’s mechanism and power source remain shrouded in mystery because all known theories meet serious challenges in explaining the immense amount of energy ASASSN-15lh has radiated.”

(Photo via Jin Ma/Beijing Planetarium)

January 12, 2016

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) shared this photo taken aboard the International Space Station on Jan. 11, 2015, during preparations for a spacewalk, or extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Peake wrote, "Final suit fit check prior to Friday's EVA – feels just great! #Principia #spacewalk"

On Friday, Jan. 15, Expedition 46 flight engineers Tim Kopra of NASA and Tim Peake of ESA will venture outside the space station’s Quest airlock to replace a failed voltage regulator that compromised one of the station’s eight power channels last November. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:55 a.m. EST and will be the third in Kopra’s career and the first for Peake, and the 192nd for maintenance of the space station. It will be the 35th spacewalk using the U.S. Quest airlock. Additional tasks include deploying cables for the future installation of an International Docking Adapter that will accommodate U.S. commercial crew vehicles, and retrieving a broken light from a truss camera.

(Photo via ESA/NASA)

January 8, 2016

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4845, located over 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy’s orientation clearly reveals the galaxy’s striking spiral structure: a flat and dust-mottled disk surrounding a bright galactic bulge.

NGC 4845’s glowing center hosts a gigantic version of a black hole, known as a supermassive black hole. The presence of a black hole in a distant galaxy like NGC 4845 can be inferred from its effect on the galaxy’s innermost stars; these stars experience a strong gravitational pull from the black hole and whizz around the galaxy’s center much faster than otherwise.

From investigating the motion of these central stars, astronomers can estimate the mass of the central black hole — for NGC 4845 this is estimated to be hundreds of thousands times heavier than the sun. This same technique was also used to discover the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way — Sagittarius A* — which hits some four million times the mass of the sun.

The galactic core of NGC 4845 is not just supermassive, but also super-hungry. In 2013 researchers were observing another galaxy when they noticed a violent flare at the center of NGC 4845. The flare came from the central black hole tearing up and feeding off an object many times more massive than Jupiter. A brown dwarf or a large planet simply strayed too close and was devoured by the hungry core of NGC 4845.

(Photo via ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen's University Belfast), Caption via European Space Agency)

January 6, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 285. South East #Asia giving us the green lights tonight! #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 5, 2016

Bow shocks thought to mark the paths of massive, speeding stars are highlighted in these images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

Cosmic bow shocks occur when massive stars zip through space, pushing material ahead of them in the same way that water piles up in front of a race boat. The stars also produce high-speed winds that smack into this compressed material. The end result is pile-up of heated material that glows in infrared light. In these images, infrared light has been assigned the colored red.

Green shows wispy dust in the region and blue shows stars.

The two images at left are from Spitzer, and the one on the right is from WISE.

The speeding stars thought to be creating the bow shocks can be seen at the center of each arc-shaped feature. The image at right actually consists of two bow shocks and two speeding stars. All the speeding stars are massive, ranging from about 8 to 30 times the mass of our sun.

(Photo via NASA)

January 9, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 288. Dream big. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 15, 2016

A new video taken by a telescope in space shows a small slice of the awesome beauty of Earth's closest star.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the video, which shows "cascading magnetic arches" on the sun after a filament of solar material erupted from the star on Dec. 16 to 17, the space agency said.

The arches look like they're glowing as they give off ultraviolet light, which is actually invisible to the human eye — but researchers colorized it to make the details of the magnetic arches really pop.

(Photo via NASA)

January 22, 2016

Most galaxies possess a majestic spiral or elliptical structure. About a quarter of galaxies, though, defy such conventional, rounded aesthetics, instead sporting a messy, indefinable shape. Known as irregular galaxies, this group includes NGC 5408, the galaxy that has been snapped here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

(Photo via ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt)

January 19, 2016

Janus and Tethys demonstrate the main difference between small moons and large ones. It's all about the moon's shape.

Moons like Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across) are large enough that their own gravity is sufficient to overcome the material strength of the substances they are made of (mostly ice in the case of Tethys) and mold them into spherical shapes. But small moons like Janus (111 miles or 179 kilometers across) are not massive enough for their gravity to form them into a sphere. Janus and its like are left as irregularly shaped bodies.

Saturn's narrow F ring and the outer edge of its A ring slice across the scene.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 0.23 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 27, 2015.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

January 13, 2016

Mars' Schaeberle Crater is a large, heavily-infilled crater with many interesting features. This image shows a window into the crater fill deposit, showcasing eroding bedrock and aeolian landforms.

This pit is located near the geometric center of our image, making it a central pit crater. Central pit craters are thought to form from impact melt draining through subsurface cracks in the deepest part of the crater shortly following impact.

A closeup image shows light-toned bedrock and a small cliff that appears to be weathering away. Below the cliff there are several different types of aeolian features, including ripples and transverse aeolian ridges (TAR). The sand that forms the small, bluish ripples may be weathering out of the cliff face, in contrast to the larger, light-toned TAR which are thought to be currently inactive.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

January 1, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 280. First day of 2016, the year I return to #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 3, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Sandy and green on the South #Indian coast. #YearInSpace"

January 16, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 295. #Earth. Mysterious and enchanting, she sleeps. #GoodNight from @Space_Station! #YearInSpace"

January 22, 2016

NASA and NOAA satellites are tracking the large winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall to the U.S. mid-Atlantic region on Jan. 22 and 23. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite snapped this image of the approaching blizzard around 2:35 a.m. EST on Jan. 22, 2016 using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument's Day-Night band.

(Photo via NOAA/NASA)

January 5, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Day 284. The Big Easy at twilight. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace"

January 11, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): "Sad to learn of the death of musician @DavidBowieReal whose inspiration lives on "far above the world" #YearInSpace"

January 14, 2016

Scott Kelly (‏@StationCDRKelly): "#Andes When you believe, you can move #mountains. Or move over them. #YearInSpace"

This photo provided by United Launch Alliance shows a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying GOES-R spacecraft for NASA and NOAA lifting off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 6:42 p.m. EST at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. The most advanced weather satellite ever built rocketed into space Saturday night, part of an $11 billion effort to revolutionize forecasting and save lives. (United Launch Alliance via AP)
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