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Week's Best Space Pictures: Volcano Erupts and Sun Flares
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 1 May 2015.

Chile's Calbuco volcano blows its top and a solar flare bursts from the sun in this week's most intriguing views from space.

1. Pale Blue Dots

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Massive light blue stars dot this image of a stellar nursery, courtesy of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. This region of star formation, a distant galaxy known as UGC 5797, sits amongst a smattering of spiral galaxies.

2. A Salty Crop

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These dark brown dashes and dots scattered across the mint-green waters off the South Korean coast are seaweed farms. The region - which cultivates two different types of brown algae - raises about 90 percent of the country's crop.

3. Temper, Temper

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A solar flare bursts from the sun's surface in an image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Most of the material fell back into our star, but when it escapes into space and hits Earth, the debris can wreak havoc with our electrical systems.

4. Out of The Box

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Workers unbox Japan's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter in a European Space Agency (ESA) test centre. The instrument - part of a joint effort between ESA and Japan - will study Mercury's powerful magnetic field. The mission is set for launch in 2017.

5. An Unexpected Awakening

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The Chilean volcano Calbuco started erupting quite spectacularly last week, catching geologists and the public off guard. In this image, an ash plume (light brown) from the volcano spreads above the cloud deck over the South American country.

6. An Icy Distraction

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Researchers in Greenland studying polar ice were grounded due to mechanical issues with their airplane - so they hiked to an iceberg frozen into sea ice. This composite picture is a combination of four images taken at 2:30 in the morning, local time.

Photo gallery by Nicole Werbeck.

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

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