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An Orbital View Over Africa (VIDEO)

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One of the latest uploads to the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth site, this short-but-oh-so-sweet video shows the view from the Space Station as it passes over Africa, Madagascar and the southern Indian Ocean at night on December 29, 2011. Multiple lightning storms flash over Africa while the Milky Way rises majestically behind the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere, capped by a greenish layer of airglow. Also making an appearance is Comet Lovejoy, at the time two weeks after its near-fatal sunburn. It can be made out rising near the Milky Way’s right side, its faint tail vertical.

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The Tail of a Comet Amongst the Stars

Nearly a week after its last photo event, here’s a shot of Comet Lovejoy seen from the Space Station on December 27.

On its way back out into the solar system after its close run-in with the Sun on December 15, Lovejoy has since sprouted a beautiful gauzy new tail which now precedes it along its path.

The comet was discovered on December 2 by Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy, and thus bears his name. Rather than being disintegrated on approach to the Sun, it survived the pass and became a brief sensation among astronomy fans worldwide.

Image: NASA

A Beautiful Comet-rise at Dawn (VIDEO)

The video above contains a time-lapse movie of Earth’s horizon at dawn on December 21, showing lightning storms, stars, airglow… and the sungrazing comet Lovejoy rising above the atmosphere! (And I must say its new tail looks amazing!)

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Comet Lovejoy’s Dazzling Death Dive

SOHO image of comet "Lovejoy" streaking towards the Sun on Dec. 15. (ESA / SOHO)

The end is definitely near… for comet Lovejoy, at least. The bright sungrazing comet was discovered on December 2, 2011, by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy using a ground-based telescope. It was quickly seen that the comet was on a doomsday dive toward the Sun and will not likely survive its close pass of our home star during the next several hours.

UPDATE: Lovejoy Lives! The comet re-emerged from the other side of the Sun after passing behind it tonight… this is one tough little traveler! See its revival here.

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