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Photos

Sea ice and cloud streets in Sea of Okhotsk

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016.  Image via NASA/ LANCE/EOSDI.

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016. Image via NASA/ LANCE/EOSDI.

Have you heard of cloud streets? NASA says:

They are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters and a warmer air layer (temperature inversion) rests over the top of both.

Young moon in evening sky

View larger. | Young moon on February 10, 2016 by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France.

View larger. | Young moon on February 10, 2016 by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France.

After storms and high winds in England, France and Germany this week, a moment of serenity with a crescent moon.

Frost, fog and sunrise

View larger. | Taken February 6, 2016 at the Alexander Suffield Wildlife Management Area in Connecticut.  Photo by Sharon Killips.

View larger. | Taken February 6, 2016 by Sharon Killips Alexander.

Worth the cold trek, said Sharon Killips Alexander in Connecticut.

Old moon over Kitt Peak

Photo taken February 7, 2016 by John Ashley

Photo taken February 7, 2016 by John Ashley

Founded in 1958 – on a mountaintop in Arizona – this observatory operates its own 3 telescopes and hosts 24 others. The image was made early Sunday morning, when the moon was just 24 hours and 10 minutes ahead of the new phase.

Red Rectangle’s unearthly beauty

The Red Rectangle Nebula, via ESA

The Red Rectangle Nebula, via the Hubble Space Telescope, ESA and NASA.

The Red Rectangle Nebula is a star in the last stages of its life. The star has puffed up and begun to shed its outer layers. The X-shape probably means something is preventing the uniform expansion of the star’s atmosphere, but what?

Fossilized lacewing butterfly

A photo of the modern owl butterfly (Caligo Memnon) shown below a fossilized Kalligrammatid lacewing (Oregramma illecebrosa) shows some of the convergent features independently evolved by the two distantly-related insects, including wing eyespots and wing scales. Image via James Di Loreto / Smithsonian

Fossilized Kalligrammatid lacewing (Oregramma illecebrosa). Image via James Di Loreto / Smithsonian

A record etched in rock from 120 million years ago shows the fragile beauty of an ancient butterfly-like insect.

See it! All 5 bright planets at once

The 5 planets can be seen from around the world.  Their orientation to the horizon is different from one part of Earth to another. Denis Crute in Australia caught the 5 planets and the moon from the Southern Hemisphere on February 2, 2016.

The 5 planets can be seen from around the world. Their orientation to the horizon is different from one part of Earth to another. Denis Crute in Australia caught the 5 planets and the moon from the Southern Hemisphere on February 2, 2016.

Best photos from the EarthSky community of the 5 bright planets now visible at once in the sky before dawn. Thanks to all who posted!

Wow! Nacreous clouds over UK this week

Nacreous clouds in early February, 2016, from Anthony Lynch Photography in Ireland.

Nacreous clouds in early February, 2016, from Anthony Lynch Photography in Ireland.

If you’re in or near the UK, watch for more nacreous clouds – or mother-of-pearl clouds – after sunset on February 2, 2016! They’re caused by high temps in the lower stratosphere.

ISS and planets over New Mexico

ISS and planets on January 23, 2016 by Colleen Gino in Polvadera, New Mexico

ISS and planets on January 23, 2016 by Colleen Gino in Polvadera, New Mexico

“Excited to see there’d be a high, long ISS pass over the 5 planets. In the end I could only see 4 planets, due to the cloud cover, but still very happy with the shot.”

Star trails over Forbidden City, Beijing

Star trails over the Forbidden City, by Jeff Dai

Star trails over the Forbidden City, by Jeff Dai

Below, the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, former home of the Chinese emperor and a center of Chinese government. Above, the Forbidden City’s sky counterpart.