Magical Pictures Of Earth And Space From 2012

NASA's Best Photos

It’s time for another countdown.

NASA’s compiled 25 indelible images from 2012 in a Flickr gallery


An extremely long solar filament shoots out from the sun on Aug. 31, 2012. The coronal mass ejection traveled at over 900 miles per second. The image also shows an image of Earth in the lower-left hand corner that shows the size of the CME compared to the size of our planet. MASSIVE!

A few days later the coronal mass ejection created a beautiful aurora over Canada.

The extremely rare event when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, known as the transit of Venus, was captured by NASA on June 5-6. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.

NASA launched five rockets within five minutes of each other as part of a study of the upper level jet stream. The rockets released a chemical tracer that created milky, white clouds at the edge of space. Tracking the way the clouds move helps scientists understand the movement of the winds some 65 miles up in the sky.

A time-lapse video of the world's ocean surface currents, called Perpetual Animation, looks like a moving oil painting.

A closeup view of Tropical Cyclone Funso take on Jan. 24, 2012.

A dinosaur tracker found the back footprint of a large, spiky dinosaur called a Nodosaur at NASA's Goddard Space Flight centre in Maryland.

On June 3, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft captured this image of three craters on Mercury's surface that resemble Disney's Mickey Mouse.

A few months later, NASA spotted another crater that looked like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole ripping apart a star that got too close. Some of the star's helium-rich gas is hurled out into space at high speeds.

The clearest nighttime view of Earth yet was compiled from hundreds of images taken between April and October 2012. These were made possible by a new satellite, operated jointly by NASA and NOAA, that can detect faint light down to things like highway lamps and fishing boats.

A satellite image taken on Oct. 30, 2012, captured the turbid waters created by Hurricane Sandy along coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as the storm moved north along the U.S. East Coast.

Early on Aug. 28, 2012, NASA's satellite captured this nighttime view of Tropical Storm Isaac and the cities near the Gulf Coast of the United States.

An unusually strong storm formed off the coast of Alaska on Aug. 5 and tracked into the centre of the Arctic Ocean, where it slowly dissipated over the next several days.

Space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a modified Boeing 747, flies near the U.S. Capitol on April 17. Discovery is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

Testing on the James Webb Telescope begins as one instrument (wrapped in a silver blanket on a platform) is lowered down into a vacuum chamber by a crane. They are testing to see if the components can withstand the cold temperatures of space.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the Curiosity rover landing on the surface of Mars in August. Curiosity and its parachute are in the centre of the white box.

The Curiosity rover team celebrates a seamless landing on the Martian surface.

Don't miss the biggest discoveries of 2012.

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