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Week’s Best Space Pictures: Mars' Ancient River System
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 6 November 2015.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our pick of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, light travels for 8.5 billion years and we glimpse a changing Cancun from on high.

1. Mapping Change

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Cancun, Mexico and the thriving city that's grown out of what was once a sleepy fishing town look much different when seen by a satellite instrument that watches for thermal generation and reflection. This picture shows surface temperature and elevation.

2. Traces

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Clouds drifting over Heard Island in the South Indian Ocean curl into a trail of vortices in this picture taken Monday. When winds encounter an object like a land mass, they spin into eddies called von Karman vortices. The swirling patterns can show up in clouds.

3. Transition

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Galaxy Mrk 820 glows in the centre of this Hubble image released Monday. The object is classified as a lenticular galaxy, with aspects of both elliptical and spiral galaxies. Their star-making activities have also slowed down.

4. Oozing

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Alaska's Malaspina glacier - North America's largest example of a piedmont glacier - squeezes through a steep-sided valley into a flat, open area like cake batter into a baking pan.

5. Ancient Channels

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The craters and channels in the bottom part of this image could be the remains of a river system on Mars. The bare, rocky patch in the middle shows evidence of what might have been a river delta.

6. A Glimpse Into The Past

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Eight and a half billion years ago, light left a huge galaxy cluster called MOO J1142+1527 and made its way to NASA's Spitzer Space telescope. The red galaxies bunched in the middle of this image are the heart of that cluster.

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

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