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Week's Best Space Pictures: Blue Ice and a Rocket Launch
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 13 March 2015.

Arctic ice changes colour while volcanic gases swirl through the air in this week's best space pictures.

1. Black and Blue

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This image of Arctic ice is a study in aging. Older, thicker ice contains fewer air pockets, giving the ice a light blue colour. The grey ice is only a year old, and its thin structure lets some of the darker colour of the seawater below show through.

2. A Dark Side

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Uneven heating of the ice covering Iapetus's surface likely created the dark spots on the Saturnian moon, say scientists.

3. A Killer View

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station photographed volcanic haze drifting away from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (bottom left). Atmospheric forces then carved the milky-looking trail into swirls called von Kármán vortices.

4. Mercury's Mystery

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A crater (left) on Mercury presents a conundrum: Its right side is sharp and well defined while its left side is fuzzier, indicating a slumping of material toward the crater's centre. But it's anyone's guess what caused the shift.

5. A Magnetic Launch

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A rocket launches from Florida's Cape Canaveral with the Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft on board. Its mission: to study how magnetic fields surrounding Earth connect and break apart, with sometimes explosive results.

Photo gallery by Mallory Benedict.

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

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