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Best photos: Venus and Jupiter after sunset

Cool timelapse of Venus and Jupiter setting on June 27, 2015 by Marnes Augusto Hoff in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Cool timelapse image of Venus and Jupiter setting on June 27, 2015 by Marnes Augusto Hoff in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Venus and Jupiter are spectacular in the western twilight sky, as viewed from around the world. They are the sky’s two brightest starlike objects, and have been drawing closer together throughout June. On the nights of June 30 and July 1, you can witness the closest Venus-Jupiter conjunction until August 27, 2016.

Big Dipper before dawn

View larger. | Big Dipper before dawn in late June, by Hope Carter.

Big Dipper before dawn in late June, by Hope Carter.

Hope Carter in Martin, Michigan caught this shot around 5 a.m. on June 24, 2015.

Awesome look at place where stars collide

Gemini Observatory near-infrared image of the globular cluster Liller 1 obtained with the GeMS adaptive optics system on the Gemini South telescope in Chile. View larger. |  Image credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

Gemini Observatory near-infrared image of the globular cluster Liller 1 obtained with the GeMS adaptive optics system on the Gemini South telescope in Chile. View larger. | Image credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

This beautiful stellar jewel-box – a tightly packed cluster of stars – is one of the few places in our galaxy where astronomers think stars can actually collide.

Spectacular lenticular cloud over Iceland

View larger. | Photo taken in Iceland on May 25, 2015 by Anne Greschuk.

Photo taken in Iceland on May 25, 2015 by Anne Greschuk.

Anne Greschuk submitted this photo to EarthSky. She wrote:

We were driving in a relatively remote area in Iceland and I noticed this rather unusual cloud formation. So I absolutely had to photograph it. Is it a particular type of cloud or just a very unusual formation? This cloud stayed like this for a few minutes and then gradually dissipated.

Photos from far-southern Earth

Iceberg near South Georgia Island, by Kjell Rune Venaas.

Iceberg near South Georgia Island, taken from the vessel Saga Sea, by Kjell Rune Venaas.

Kjell Rune Venaas sends photos. Icebergs, snow and ice, penguins and whales …

Lonely galaxy

View larger. | Galaxy NGC 6503. It lies 30,000 light-years away, at the edge of a strangely empty patch of space called the Local Void.

A new Hubble Space Telescope image of galaxy NGC 6503. Bright red patches of gas can be seen scattered through the galaxy’s swirling spiral arms, mixed with bright blue regions that contain newly-forming stars. Dark brown dust lanes snake across the galaxy’s bright arms and center. Image via NASA, ESA

Here is a new image of lonely galaxy NGC 6503, located some 18 million light-years from our Milky Way, in the direction of what we see as the constellation of Draco the Dragon. It is one of our Milky Way’s closest neighbors, and belongs to our Local Group of galaxies. Yet you might consider it “lonely” because it resides on the edge of a patch of space – some 150 million light-years across – that seems to be curiously devoid of galaxies.

Great-horned owl eclipses the moon

View larger. | Photo by John Ashley.  Visit his Facebook page.

Photo by John Ashley. Visit John Ashley Fine Art Photography on Facebook.

John Ashley in Montana submitted this photo to EarthSky this week. He captured it on June 5. He wrote:

A juvenile great-horned owl eclipses the 91% moon rise on her first night out in the big, wide world after fledging from her nest in the afternoon.

Reflections of volcanic sunset in Africa

View larger. | June 3, 2015 photo by Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe

View larger. | June 3, 2015 photo by Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe

Here in Mutare, Zimbabwe, we are still being treated to spectacular volcanic sunsets caused by patches of aerosols from the April 22, 2015 eruption of Calbuco Volcano lingering in the stratosphere.

Your best ocean photos

From Leo Carrillo State Beach, California, by Kristal Alaimo Moritz.

From Leo Carrillo State Beach, California, by Kristal Alaimo Moritz.

Thank you all for these beautiful images, in celebration of World Ocean Day 2015! See them all!

Bubble nebula

View larger. | Photo by

View larger. | The Bubble Nebula. Photo by Jaspal Chadha. Used with permission.

Energetic radiation from a hot, young central star ionizes a shell of gas, causing it to glow and creating this bubble in space.