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Week's Best Space Pictures: Pluto Comes in Colour And A Moon Shines
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 17 April 2015.

A spacecraft sends the first ever colour picture of Pluto and a Saturnian moon basks in reflected light in this week's best space pictures.

1. Ripped Apart

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A white dwarf star that brushed too close to an exoplanet on the edge of the Milky Way likely demolished it, researchers say. Although such stars are about the size of Earth, their gravitational pull is about 10,000 times that of the sun.

2. Reflection

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Reflected sunlight from Saturn illuminates Mimas (top right), one of the planet’s moons. Saturnshine, as this type of reflection is known, is usually quite dim. Researchers enhanced its brightness 2.5 times relative to Saturn's rings in this image.

3. Long Haul

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A SpaceX rocket launches from Florida's Cape Canaveral on April 14 in a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 rocket carried two tons of food and equipment for scientific experiments.

4. Power Source

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An image of the International Space Station's solar arrays showcases the size of these 262,400 solar cells; each array - there are four - is longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan and can provide enough power for more than 40 homes.

5. In Living Colour

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Though it merely looks like two beige blobs, this landmark image is the first colour photograph of Pluto (right) and its largest moon Charon (left) ever taken by a spacecraft. NASA's New Horizons was 71 million miles away when it took this picture.

6. Trail of Destruction

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A satellite image of northern Illinois captured the path of a powerful tornado that ploughed through the area last week. The cataclysmic damage - piles of wood, torn up building insulation, and beat up cars - registers as orange-brown smears.

Photo gallery by Mallory Benedict.

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

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