Most ISS images are nadir, in which the center point of the image is directly beneath the lens of the camera, but this one is not. This highly oblique image of northwestern African captures the curvature of the Earth and shows its atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other constituents, and it shields us from nearly all harmful radiation coming from the sun and other stars. NASA/JPL/UCSD/JSC
This artist's concept illustrates a comet being torn to shreds around a dead star, or white dwarf, called G29-38. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observed a cloud of dust around this white dwarf that may have been generated from this type of comet disruption. The findings suggest that a host of other comet survivors may still orbit in this long-dead solar system. NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
The varying temperatures of Saturn's rings are depicted here in this false-color image from the Cassini spacecraft. This image represents the most detailed look to date at the temperature of Saturn's rings. The image was made from data taken by Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer instrument. Red represents temperatures of about -261 degrees Fahrenheit, and blue -333 degrees. Green is equivalent to -298 degrees Fahrenheit. NASA/JPL/GSFC/Ames
The morning sun reflects on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the Apollo 7 spacecraft during its 134th revolution of the Earth on Oct. 20, 1968. NASA
NASA's Terra satellite was rounding the top of the globe, making its way from the eastern tip of Siberia and across the Arctic Ocean towards northern Norway and northwest Russia, when it captured this unique view of a total solar eclipse on Aug. 1, 2008. The circular disk of the Moon casts an oval-shaped shadow across the left edge of this image. In the region of totality, where the Moon entirely obscures the Sun, the shadow is complete. The edges of the shadow are fuzzy, gradually lightening from black to red, brown, and yellow until the shadow is no longer discernible. In these areas of semi-shadow, the Sun is only partially blocked. NASA
The 209-foot-tall mobile service tower on Pad 39-A of Space Launch Complex 36 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station careens to the left after 122 pounds of explosives eliminated the base. The tower is one of two that were identified for demolition. The old towers were being toppled as part of the ongoing project to demolish the historic site to prevent corrosion from becoming a safety concern. A majority of the steel will be recycled and the rest will be taken to the landfill at CCAFS. Charisse Nahser/NASA
Evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Magellan telescopes suggest a star was torn apart by an intermediate-mass black hole in a globular cluster. In this image, X-rays from Chandra are shown in blue and are overlaid on an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA/CXC/UA/J. Irwin et al/STScI
The sands of time are running out for the central star of this the Hourglass Nebula. With its nuclear fuel exhausted, this brief, spectacular, closing phase of a sun-like star's life occurs as its outer layers are ejected and its core becomes a cooling, fading white dwarf. In 1995, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to make a series of images of planetary nebulae, including the one above. Here, delicate rings of colorful glowing gas (nitrogen-red, hydrogen-green, and oxygen-blue) outline the tenuous walls of the 'hourglass.' The unprecedented sharpness of Hubble's images revealed surprising details of the nebula ejection process and may resolve the outstanding mystery of the variety of complex shapes and symmetries of planetary nebulae. NASA, WFPC2, HST, R. Sahai and J. Trauger (JPL)
Now that humans have mastered atmospheric flight above the Earth, researchers at Glenn have set their sights on flight above our neighboring planets. Venus provides several advantages for flying a solar-powered aircraft. At the top of the cloud level, the solar intensity is comparable to or greater than solar intensities above Earth. The atmospheric pressure would make flight much easier than on planets such as Mars. NASA
This view of Uranus was recorded by Voyager 2 on Jan 25, 1986, as the spacecraft left the planet behind and set forth on the cruise to Neptune, Voyager was about 600,000 miles from Uranus when it acquired this wide-angle view. The picture -- a color composite of blue, green and orange frames -- has a resolution of 90 mi. NASA
Scotland will vote in 2014 whether to split off from England and the rest of the United Kingdom. Scottish nationalists argue that Scotland would be better off alone.
William James, Reuters /
May 23, 2013
Chris Bacon / AP
Ending Britain's 306-year rule would allow Scotland to reverse generations of economic mismanagement and free its lawmakers to boost economic growth, say Scottish nationalists campaigning to split from the UK.