Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour

APOD: 2022 January 25 - Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour Video Credit & Copyright: Matipon Tangmatitham (NARIT); Text: Matipon Tangmatitham Explanation: Which direction is this comet heading? Judging by the tail, one might imagine that Comet Leonard is traveling towards the bottom right, but a full 3D analysis shows it traveling almost directly away from the camera. With this perspective, the dust tail is trailed towards the camera and can only be seen as a short yellow-white glow near the head of the comet. The bluish ion tail, however, is made up of escaping ions that are forced directly away from the Sun by the solar wind -- but channeled along the Sun's magnetic field lines. The Sun's magnetic field is quite complex, however, and occasionally solar magnetic reconnection will break the ion tail into knots that are pushed away from the Sun.One such knot is visible in the featured one-hour time-lapse video captured in late December from Thailand. Comet Leonard is now fading as it heads out of our...

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Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula

APOD: 2022 January 24 - Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 24 Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula Image Credit & Copyright: José Mtanous Explanation: By starlight this eerie visage shines in the dark,a crooked profile evoking its popular name, theWitch Head Nebula.In fact, this entrancingtelescopic portrait gives the impression thatthe witch has fixed her gaze on Orion's bright supergiantstar Rigel.More formally known asIC 2118,the Witch Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years andis composed of interstellar dust grains reflecting Rigel's starlight.The blue color of the Witch Head Nebula and of the dust surroundingRigelis caused not only by Rigel's intense blue starlight but because thedust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red.The samephysical process causesEarth's daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers inEarth's atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen.Rigel, the Witch Head Nebula, and gas and dust that surrounds them lie about 800 light-years away. Tomorrow's picture: comet time-lapse <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific...

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Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

APOD: 2022 January 23 - Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 23 Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA,NASA Explanation: Seen fromice moon Tethys, rings and shadows would display fantasticviews of the Saturnian system.Haven't dropped in on Tethys lately?Thenthisgorgeous ringscape from the Cassini spacecraftwill have to do for now.Caught in sunlightjust below and left of picture center in 2005,Tethys itself is about 1,000 kilometers in diameter andorbits not quite five saturn-radii from the center of the gas giant planet.At that distance (around 300,000 kilometers) it is well outside Saturn'smainbright rings, but Tethys is stillone of fivemajor moons that find themselves within the boundaries ofthe faint and tenuous outerE ring.Discovered in the 1980s, two very small moonsTelesto and Calypso are locked in stablealong Tethys' orbit.Telesto precedes and Calypso follows Tethys as the triocircles Saturn. Tomorrow's picture: witch star? <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD...

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The Full Moon and the Dancer

APOD: 2022 January 22 - The Full Moon and the Dancer Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 22 The Full Moon and the Dancer Image Credit &Copyright:Elena Pinna Explanation: On Monday, January'sFull Moonrose as the Sun set.Spotted near the eastern horizon, its warm hues are seenin this photo taken near Cagliari, capital city of the Italianisland of Sardinia.Of course the familiar patterns of light and dark acrossthe Moon's nearsideare created by bright rugged highlands and dark smooth lunar maria.Traditionally the patterns are seenas pareidolia,giving the visual illusion of a human face like theMan in the Moon,or familiar animal like theMoon rabbit.But for a moment theswarming murmuration,also known as a flock of starlings,frozen in the snapshot's field of view lendsanother pareidolic element to the scene.Some see the graceful figure of a dancer enchantedby moonlight. Tomorrow's picture: moons, rings, and shadows <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Young Star Jet MHO 2147

APOD: 2022 January 21 - Young Star Jet MHO 2147 Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 21 Young Star Jet MHO 2147 Image Credit &License:International Gemini Observatory /NOIRLab /NSF /AURA Acknowledgments: L. Ferrero (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) Explanation: Laserguide stars andadaptive optics sharpened this stunningground-based image of stellar jets from theGemini South Observatory,Chilean Andes, planet Earth.Thesetwin outflows of MHO 2147are from a young starin formation.It lies toward the central Milky Way and theboundary of the constellations Sagittarius and Ophiuchus atan estimated distance of some 10,000 light-years.At center, the star itself is obscured by a dense region of cold dust.But the infrared image still traces the sinuous jets across aframe that would span about 5 light-years at the system's estimated distance.Driven outwardby the young rotating star,the apparent wandering direction of the jets is likely due to precession.Part of a multiple star system, the young star's rotational axiswould slowly precess or wobble like a top under the gravitation influenceof its nearby companions. Tomorrow's picture: The Full Moon and the Dancer<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

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NGC 7822 in Cepheus

APOD: 2022 January 20 - NGC 7822 in Cepheus Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 20 NGC 7822 in Cepheus Image Credit &Copyright:Mark Carter Explanation: Hot, young stars andcosmic pillarsof gas and dust seem to crowd into NGC 7822.At the edge of a giantmolecular cloud toward the northernconstellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming regionlies about 3,000 light-years away.Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes stand out in thiscolorfultelescopic skyscape.The image includes data from narrowband filters,mapping emission from atomic oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur into blue,green, and red hues.The emission line and color combination has become well-known as theHubble palette. The atomic emission ispowered by energetic radiation fromthe central hot stars.Their powerful winds and radiation sculpt and erodethe denser pillar shapes and clear out acharacteristic cavity light-years acrossthe center of the natal cloud.Stars could still be forming inside the pillars bygravitational collapse but as the pillars areeroded away, any forming stars will ultimately be cutoff from theirreservoir ofstar stuff.This field of view spans about 40 light-years at the estimated distanceof NGC 7822. Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search|...

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M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

APOD: 2022 January 19 - M31: The Andromeda Galaxy Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 19 M31: The Andromeda Galaxy Image Credit: Subaru (NAOJ), Hubble(NASA/ESA), Mayall(NSF); Processing & Copyright: R. Gendler & R. Croman Explanation: The most distant object easily visible to the unaided eye isM31,the great Andromeda Galaxy.Even at some two and a half million light-years distant, this immense spiral galaxy -- spanning over200,000 light years -- is visible, although as a faint, nebulous cloud in theconstellationAndromeda.In contrast, a bright yellow nucleus, dark winding dust lanes, andexpansive spiral arms dotted with blue star clusters and red nebulae, are recorded in this stunning telescopic image which combines data from orbiting Hubble with ground-based images from Subaru and Mayall.In only about 5 billion years, the Andromeda galaxy may be even easier to see -- as it will likely span the entire night sky -- just before it merges with our Milky Way Galaxy. Tomorrow's picture: open space <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights...

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From Orion to the Southern Cross

APOD: 2022 January 18 - From Orion to the Southern Cross Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 18 From Orion to the Southern Cross Image Credit & Copyright: Lucy Yunxi Hu Explanation: This is a sky filled with glowing icons.On the far left is the familiar constellation of Orion, divided by its iconic three-aligned belt stars and featuring the famous Orion Nebula, both partly encircled by Barnard's Loop.Just left of center in the featured image is the brightest star in the night: Sirius.Arching across the image center is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.On the far right, near the top, are the two brightest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way: the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).Also on the far right -- just above the cloudy horizon -- is the constellation of Crux, complete with the four stars that make the iconic Southern Cross.The featured image is a composite of 18 consecutive exposures taken by the same camera and from the same location in eastern Australia during the last days of last year. In the...

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Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas

APOD: 2022 January 17 - Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 17 Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas Image Credit & Copyright: Jarmo Ruuth, Telescope Live, Heaven's Mirror Observatory Explanation: Sometimes the dark dust of interstellar space has an angular elegance. Such is the case toward the far-south constellation of Chamaeleon.Normally too faint to see, dark dust is best known for blocking visible light from stars and galaxies behind it.In this four-hour exposure, however, the dust is seen mostly in light of its own, with its strong red and near-infrared colors giving creating a brown hue.Contrastingly blue, the bright star Beta Chamaeleontis is visible just to the right of center, with the dust that surrounds it preferentially reflecting blue light from its primarily blue-white color. All of the pictured stars and dust occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy with -- but one notable exception: the white spot just below Beta Chamaeleontis is the galaxy IC 3104 which lies far in the distance. Interstellar dust is mostly created in the cool atmospheres of giant stars and dispersed into space by stellar...

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A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset

APOD: 2022 January 16 - A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 16 A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset Image Credit & Copyright: Alan Dyer(The Amazing Sky) Explanation: What type of cloud is that?This retreating cumulonimbus cloud, more commonly called a thundercloud, is somewhat unusual as it contains the unusual bumpiness of a mammatus cloud on the near end, while simultaneously producing falling rain on the far end.Taken in mid-2013 in southern Alberta, Canada, the cloud is moving to the east, into the distance, as the sun sets in the west, behind the camera.In the featured image, graphic sunset colors cross the sky to give the alreadyphotogeniccloud striking orange and pink hues.A darkening blue sky covers the background.Further in the distance, a rising, waxing, gibbous moon is visible on the far right. Tomorrow's picture: angular space dust <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Galileo's Europa

APOD: 2022 January 15 - Galileo's Europa Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 15 Galileo's Europa Image Credit: NASA,JPL-Caltech,SETI Institute,Cynthia Phillips,Marty Valenti Explanation: Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, theGalileo spacecraftrecorded stunning views of Europa and uncoveredevidence that the moon's icy surface likely hidesa deep, global ocean.Galileo's Europa image data has beenremastered here, with improved calibrations to produce acolor image approximating what the human eye might see.Europa's long curving fractureshintat the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexingthe large moon experiences in its elliptical orbitaround Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid.But moretantalizing is the possibilitythat even in theabsence of sunlight that process could also supply the energy tosupport life,making Europaone of the best places to look for lifebeyond Earth.What kind of life could thrive in a deep, dark, subsurface ocean?Consider planet Earth's ownextreme shrimp. Tomorrow's picture: a very cloudy day<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech....

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NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy

APOD: 2022 January 14 - NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 14 NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy Image Credit &Copyright:Mark HansonandMike Selby Explanation: An island universeof billions of stars,NGC 1566 lies about 60 million light-years away in the southernconstellationDorado.Popularly known as the Spanish Dancer galaxy, it's seen face-on from ourMilky Way perspective.A gorgeous grand design spiral, this galaxy'stwo graceful spiral arms span over 100,000 light-years,traced by bright blue star clusters,pinkish starforming regions, and swirlingcosmic dustlanes.NGC 1566'sflaring center makes the spiral one of the closest and brightest Seyfertgalaxies.It likely houses a central supermassive black hole wreaking havoc on surrounding stars, gas, and dust.In this sharp southern galaxy portrait,the spiky stars lie well within the Milky Way. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Supernova Remnant Simeis 147

APOD: 2022 January 13 - Supernova Remnant Simeis 147 Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 13 Supernova Remnant Simeis 147 Image Credit &Copyright:Jason Dain Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate, looping, twisting filaments inthis detailed imageofsupernova remnant Simeis 147.Also cataloged as Sharpless 2-240 it goes by the popular nickname,the Spaghetti Nebula.Seen towardthe boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga,it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky.That's about 150 light-years atthe stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years.This composite includes image data taken through narrow-band filterswhere reddish emission from ionized hydrogen atoms and doubly ionizedoxygen atoms in faint blue-green hues trace theshocked, glowing gas.The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion firstreached Earth 40,000 years ago.But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath.The cosmic catastrophealso left behinda spinning neutron star or pulsar,all that remains of the original star's core. Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA...

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Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia

APOD: 2022 January 12 - Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 12 Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia Image Credit & Copyright: Blake Estes (itelescope.net) Explanation: What does Comet Leonard look like up close?Although we can't go there, imaging the comet's coma and inner tails through a small telescope gives us a good idea. As the name implies, the ion tail is made of ionized gas -- gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind. The solar wind is quite structured and sculpted by the Sun's complex and ever changing magnetic field.The effect of the variable solar wind combined with different gas jets venting from the comet's nucleus accounts for the tail's complex structure. Following the wind, structure in Comet Leonard's tail can be seen to move outward from the Sun even alter its wavy appearance over time. The blue color of the ion tail is dominated by recombining carbon monoxide molecules, while the green color of the coma surrounding the head of the comet is created mostly by a...

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Orions Belt Region in Gas and Dust

APOD: 2022 January 11 - Orions Belt Region in Gas and Dust Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 11 Orion's Belt Region in Gas and Dust Image Credit & Copyright: Matt Harbison(Space4Everybody),Marathon Remote Imaging Observatory Explanation: You may have seen Orion's belt before -- but not like this.The three bright stars across this image are, from left to right, Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak: the iconic belt stars of Orion.The rest of the stars in the frame have been digitally removed to highlight the surrounding clouds of glowing gas and dark dust.Some of these clouds have intriguing shapes, including the Horsehead and Flame Nebulas, both near Alnitak on the lower right. This deep image, taken last month from the Marathon Skypark and Observatory inMarathon, Texas, USA, spans about 5 degrees, required about 20 hours of exposure, and was processed to reveal the gas and dust that we would really see if we were much closer.The famous Orion Nebula is off to the upper right of this colorful field. The entire region lies only about 1,500 light-years distant and so is one of...

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Comet Leonards Tail Wag

APOD: 2022 January 10 - Comet Leonards Tail Wag Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Comet Leonard's Tail Wag Image Credit: NASA, NRL, STEREO-A; Processing: B. Gallagher Explanation: Why does Comet Leonard's tail wag?The featured time-lapse video shows the ion tail of Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) as it changed over ten days early last month. The video was taken by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft that co-orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as the Earth.Each image in this 29-degree field was subtracted from following image to create frames that highlight differences.The video clearly shows Comet Leonard's long ion tail extending, wagging, and otherwise being blown around by the solar wind -- a stream of fast-moving ions that stream out from the Sun. Since the video was taken, Comet Leonard continued plunging toward the Sun, reached its closest approach to the Sun between the orbits of Mercury and Venus, survived this closest approach without breaking apart, and is now fading as heads out of our Solar System. Tuesday over Zoom: APOD editor to present the Best APOD Space Images of...

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Hubbles Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot

APOD: 2022 January 9 - Hubbles Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 9 Hubble's Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, OPAL Program, STScI; Processing: Karol Masztalerz Explanation: What will become of Jupiter's Great Red Spot? Gas giant Jupiter is the solar system'slargest world with about 320 times the massof planet Earth.Jupiter is home to one of the largest and longest lasting storm systems known,the Great Red Spot (GRS), visible to the left.The GRS is so large it could swallow Earth, although it has been shrinking. Comparison with historical notes indicate that the storm spans only about one third of the exposed surface area it had 150 years ago.NASA's Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program has been monitoring the storm more recently using the Hubble Space Telescope.The featured Hubble OPAL image shows Jupiter as it appeared in 2016, processed in a way that makes red hues appear quite vibrant.Modern GRS data indicate that the storm continues to constrict its surface area, but is also becoming slightly taller, vertically. No...

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Quadrantids of the North

APOD: 2022 January 8 - Quadrantids of the North Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 8 Quadrantids of the North Image Credit &Copyright:Cheng Luo Explanation: Named for aforgottenconstellation, theQuadrantid Meteor Showerputs on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers.The shower's radiant on the skylies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellationQuadransMuralis.That location is not far from the Big Dipper,at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco.In fact north star Polaris is just below center in this frame andthe Big Dipper asterism (known to some asthe Plough) is above it,with the meteor shower radiant to the right.Pointing back toward the radiant,Quadrantid meteors streak through the night in the panoramicskyscape, a composite of images taken in the hours aroundthe shower's peak on January 4, 2022.Arrayed in the foreground are radio telescopes of theChinese Spectral Radioheliograph,Mingantu Observing Station, Inner Mongolia, China.A likely source of the dust stream that producesQuadrantid meteors was identifiedin 2003as an asteroid. Status Updates: Deploying the James Webb Space Telescope Tomorrow's picture: shrinking red spot<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

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Ecstatic Solar Eclipse

A male Adelie penguin performed this Ecstatic Vocalization in

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The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star

The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star

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