In this enhanced false color view of Saturn, the northern region is marked by a multitude of bright, patchy clouds. The region south of the ring shadows contains the bright equatorial band seen in many monochrome Cassini spacecraft images taken at infrared wavelengths. NASA
In this composite image from near-infrared light, the telltale signatures of this alignment are the shadows (the three black circles) cast by the Jupiter's moons -- Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Io's shadow is located just above center and to the left; Ganymede's on the planet's left edge; and Callisto's near the right edge. Only two of the moons, however, are visible in this image. Io is the white circle in the center of the image, and Ganymede is the blue circle at upper right. Callisto is out of the image and to the right. Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona)/ESA/NASA
The Expedition 24 crew aboard the International Space Station photographed the Twitchell Canyon Fire in central Utah on Sept. 20. The fire near central Utah’s Fishlake National Forest is reported to cover an area of approximately 13,383 hectares, or 33,071 acres. This detailed image shows smoke plumes generated by several fire spots close to the southwestern edge of the burned area. The fire was started by a lightning strike on July 20. NASA
A gull is silhouetted against the rising moon in Bucharest, Romania on Sept. 21. Vadim Ghirda/AP
As the shuttle and the space station began their post-undocking relative separation, Expedition 23 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi photographed the underside of the shuttle over the south end of Isla de Providencia, about 150 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred on April 17, ending the shuttle's 10-day stay. NASA
LL Ori emits a vigorous solar wind, a stream of charged particles moving rapidly outward from the star. The material in the fast wind from LL Ori collides with slow-moving gas evaporating away from the center of the Orion Nebula, which is located to the lower right in this Heritage image. The surface where the two winds collide is the crescent-shaped bow shock seen in the image. NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This artist's concept shows a brown dwarf surrounded by a swirling disk of planet-building dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope spotted such a disk around a surprisingly low-mass brown dwarf, or "failed star." Astronomers believe that this unusual system will eventually spawn planets. If so, they speculate the disk has enough mass to make one small gas giant and a few Earth-sized rocky planets. JPL/NASA
This image of dust pillars in the Carina Nebula is a composite of 2005 observations taken of the region in hydrogen light (light emitted by hydrogen atoms) along with 2010 observations taken in oxygen light (light emitted by oxygen atoms), both times with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The immense Carina Nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The Hubble Heritage Project (STScI/AURA) / ESA / NASA
A last quarter crescent moon above Earth's horizon is featured in this image photographed by the Expedition 24 crew on the International Space Station. NASA
In preparation for its last planned mission to the International Space Station, shuttle Discovery was lowered onto its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On Sept. 21, Discovery completed its last planned trip to the launch pad at 1:49 a.m., leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building at about 7:23 p.m. on the slow, 3.4-mile crawl to the pad. Jack Pfaller/NASA
Ukrainian political elites have repeatedly tried to fob off their failures onto Moscow and the West, while extorting maximal support from both. The West must make any cash handouts conditional on meeting protesters' demands for democratic reforms.
Ukraine is teetering on the brink of disaster, once again drawing the West and Russia into diplomatic conflict. But as pundits and policymakers debate the appropriate Western response to the showdown in Crimea – and raise the specter of a renewed cold war – they would do well to recognize the responsibility of the Ukrainian elite for the present East-West showdown.