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Top ten Rosetta images from 10km

11 November 2014 Astronomy Now

On the eve of Philae’s landing, the European Space Agency has released its top ten images of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera from its lowest orbit just 10 kilometres from the centre of the nucleus.

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Crescent Saturn and Titan seen by Cassini

7 November 2014 Stephen Clark

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft — in its 11th year orbiting Saturn — has spotted the gas giant and its haze-covered moon Titan suspended in the blackness of space like diamonds in the rough. Encircled by its famous rings faintly visible in this image, Saturn dwarfs its largest moon Titan, which appears as a ring of light thanks to tiny haze particles in its atmosphere. The particles refract light, bending sunbeams to illuminate parts of the moon that would otherwise be in shadow. Scientists can actually glean rich scientific data from images like the one seen above. “More than just pretty pictures, high-phase observations — taken looking generally toward the Sun, as in this image — are very powerful scientifically since the way atmospheres and rings transmit sunlight is often diagnostic of compositions and physical states,” NASA wrote in a caption of the photo. Cassini’s wide angle camera took the photo Aug. 11, 2013, at a distance of 1.1 million miles from Saturn.

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Ring of Stellar Fire

24 October 2014 Astronomy Now

An image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, taken in infrared light, shows where the action is taking place in the galaxy NGC 1291.