Space Pictures of the Week (July 12-19)

A true color NASA satellite mosaic of Earth
A true color NASA satellite mosaic of Earth

Every now and then, I look up at the sky to escape.

Whenever we look up at space, we are reminded of the complexity and immensity of the majestic universe, the staggering unknown, and the awe-inspiring force it took to generate all of this. Indeed it is something special to behold, and as human beings, something to be proud of--being able to conquer space travel and command such a view of Earth.

Likewise, images of the Earth from Space inspire a feeling of insignificance--seeing that lonely planet surrounded by vast darkness, vulnerable to the outside elements, reminds me that we all live in this beautiful lonely planet together and that we are all going through our everyday dealings in life amidst a sea of darkness and a million other planets and stars. With the perpetual passing of time, we are but mere specks of dust who should make the most out of our time here on Earth instead of being absorbed by trivial matters.

With last week's major solar flare causing plenty of interesting and awe-inspiring views in the night sky, there was much to see.

An X1.4 class major solar flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM EDT, which in turn caused an outbreak of spectacular images captured around the world.
An X1.4 class major solar flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM EDT, which in turn caused an outbreak of spectacular images captured around the world.

Aurora in The Canadian Rockies

The following photographs were caught on July 15, 2012 by Paul Zizka Photography, www.zizka.ca. Night sky watcher Paul Zizka caught the aurora over the Waputik Icefield in the Canadian Rockies.

Aurora Above Lake Chelan, Washington State

A Solar Storm on July 14, 2012 resulted into an auroral display that was thankfully captured by Astrophotographer Sy Stepanov. This photographer chose to be creative by "running in a field during said long exposure, while rotating a flashlight.

Astrophotographer Sy Stepanov took this shot of the auroral display from the solar storm on July 16.

Aurora & Car Headlights

Credits for this picture go to Astrophotographer Sean Lenz. He took the photo of this auroral display with car headlights in the foreground at La Valle, WI. This photo was taken on July 15, 2012.

Hubble Telescope Captures Milky Way-like Galaxy

Tthe Hubble Space Telescope has captured a stunning rare photograph of an edge-on spiral galaxy much like our very own Milky Way. This galaxy, officially known as NGC 4565, is 40 million light-years from Earth.

Multi-Telescope View of Black Hole

This multi-telescope view of a giant black hole is 2 million times sharper than the human eye. Telescopes in Airzona, Chile, and Hawaii have captured the best view ever of a giant black hole--a spinning beacon in the night known as a quasar-- at the center of a galaxy 5 billion light-years away from The Earth. (Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

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Photographer Captures Venus' Rare Journey Across a Melting Sun

The World at Night: Venus makes its rare transit across a melting sun in this amazing image captured at sunset by a veteran photographer. Credit: Tunc Tezel /

Southern Lights View from Space

Auroras are a sight to behold, but nothing prepares NASA Astraunaut Joe acaba as he is awestrack for seeing the celestial lights dance over Earth from his window on the International Space Station. He was able to watch the auroras on Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15, from the station's observation deck, which is a seven-window cupola that offers a 360-degree view of space and the Earth. Credit: NASA/Joe Acaba

Daytime Lightning on Saturn

No, the image below is not an impressionist abstract painting, but a photo of lightning in broad daylight on the ringed planet Saturn captured by the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

The Cat's Paw

The Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) lies in the constellation of The Scorpion. It is relatively near to Earth, with it being about 5500 light-years away.

This new photo of the Cat's Paw Nebula brings out the faint blue nebulous in the middle which was not seen in the original ESO image. Credit: ESO/R. Gendler & R.M. Hannahoe

Mount Shasta and its Milky Way

Veteran night sky photographer Brad Goldpaint took this photo which looks like Mount Shasta erupting like a volcano and casting forth millions of stars into the atmosphere. This image of the Milky Way over Mount Shasta, California, was taken during three years of astronomical photo sessions. It is featured in Goldpaint's night sky observing video "Within Two Worlds." Credit: Copyright © 2012 Goldpaint Photography, All Rights Reserved

For more photos of space, check-out Space.com.

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