Water flows from the heart-shaped northern lobe of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, as seen in a recently released picture taken by the ESA/NASA Landsat 5 satellite. Once the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, the Aral Sea has been shrinking over the past 50 years as water has been diverted for irrigation.
The whitish area surrounding the lake is a vast salt plain, now called the Aralkum Desert, left behind by the evaporating sea.
The plasma danced for more than two days while SDO's extreme-ultraviolet cameras took in the show. A smaller, shorter-lived eruption—visible in this October 28 frame—also flared up nearby.
Image courtesy SDO/NASA
Thin Is In?
No, the Hubble Space Telescope is not doing ads for ultrathin notebook computers. The object seen above is actually an unusually slender galaxy seen edge-on.
Dubbed NGC 4452, this galaxy was first spotted in 1784 by astronomer William Herschel, who noted the object's elongated shape. But Hubble's new shot, released November 8, reveals the galaxy in unprecedented detail, including the bright dot of the galaxy's core.
Image courtesy ESA/NASA
A worker helps detach a vent line from the external fuel tank of the space shuttleDiscovery on November 9, while the craft sits at Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A Long March 4C rocket lifts off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China on November 5 carrying a new weather satellite.
The satellite is the second to launch in China's Fengyun-3 series of meteorological probes. Once in-orbit testing is complete, China's National Satellite Meteorological Center will use the craft to improve the Asian country's medium-range weather forecasting capabilities.
Photograph by Sun Zifa, Imaginechina/AP
Galactic Atoms for Peace
It's fusion, on a cosmic scale: A new picture offers an unprecedented view of the galaxy merger collectively known as Atoms-for-Peace. Formally dubbed NGC 7252, the object was nicknamed for a 1953 campaign by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote peaceful uses of nuclear power.
The new shot, taken by the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile, shows the loops of material created as gas and stars were ripped out of the colliding galaxies and wrapped around their joint core. The loops give the galaxy its odd shape, which is reminiscent of a textbook drawing of electrons orbiting an atom.