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These NASA Instagram photos of 2015 broke the internet

Shweta Sengar | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:25 IST

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) delighted its over 7.4 million followers on photo-sharing platform Instagram. It posted some out of the world photographs taken by spacecrafts and powerful telescopes.

It shared selfies taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, pictures of Pluto during the New Horizon's flyby of the dwarf planet and images of Earth as seen from space.

Most of NASA's stunning photographs receive over One million likes. NASA uploaded photos of the most important space events of the year, including the Perseid meteor shower, the Super Blood Moon and the new close-range images of Pluto.

Based on total social interactions compiled by CrowdTangle, here are the 10 biggest NASA Instagram posts of the year.

Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle as it swings through the inner solar system and ejects a trail of dust and gravel along its orbit. When the Earth passes through the debris, specs of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. Meteors from this comet are called Perseids because they seem to fly out of the constellation Perseus. Last year, this meteor shower peaked during a bright "supermoon", so visibility was reduced. Luckily, this year, the show was especially awesome because the Moon is nearly new when the shower peaked on Aug. 12-13, 2015. In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower Aug. 13, 2015, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls #perseids #meteorshower #nasa #space #sky #nightsky #perseid #meteors #stars

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on Aug 13, 2015 at 1:02pm PDT

The Earth

Solar 'Pumpkin'

Colourful liquid

Archaelogical dig

Conducting a "cosmic archaeological dig" at the very heart of our Milky Way galaxy, astronomers uncovered the blueprints of our galaxy's early construction phase. Peering deep into the Milky Way's crowded central hub of stars, researchers using our Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered for the first time a population of ancient white dwarfs -- smoldering remnants of once-vibrant stars that inhabited the core. Finding these relics at last can yield clues to how our galaxy was built, long before Earth and our sun formed. This image is a small section of Hubble's view of the dense collection of stars crammed together in the galactic bulge. The region surveyed is located 26,000 light-years away. Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/SWEEPS Science Team #nasa #space #galaxy #milklyway #hubble #hst #astronomy #nasabeyond #science

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:42pm PST

Northern Lights

On the night of Oct. 8, a photographer in Harstad, Norway captured this image of the dancing northern lights. Auroras are created when fast-moving, magnetic solar material strikes Earth's magnetic bubble, the magnetosphere. This collision rattles the magnetosphere in an event called a geomagnetic storm, sending trapped charged particles zooming down magnetic field lines towards the atmosphere, where they collide brilliantly with molecules in the air, creating auroras. Though many geomagnetic storms are associated with clouds of solar material that explode from the sun in an event called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, this storm was caused by an especially fast stream of solar wind. "Geomagnetic storms caused by high-speed solar wind streams aren't uncommon," said Leila Mays, a space physicist at our Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Near solar minimum-when solar activity like CMEs are less frequent-these fast streams are actually the most common cause of geomagnetic storms that create auroras." Image courtesy of Johnny Henriksen/Spaceweather.com #nasa #space #photography #aurora #spaceweather #nasabeyond #sun #earth #science

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on Oct 10, 2015 at 9:26am PDT

Super Blood Moon


Gorgeous Pluto! The dwarf planet has sent a love note back to Earth via our New Horizons spacecraft, which has traveled more than 9 years and 3+ billion miles. This is the last and most detailed image of Pluto sent to Earth before the moment of closest approach, which was at 7:49 a.m. EDT Tuesday - about 7,750 miles above the surface -- roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India - making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth. This stunning image of the dwarf planet was captured from New Horizons at about 4 p.m. EDT on July 13, about 16 hours before the moment of closest approach. The spacecraft was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from the surface. Images from closest approach are expected to be released on Wednesday, July 15. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI #nasa #pluto #plutoflyby #newhorizons#solarsystem #nasabeyond #science

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on Jul 14, 2015 at 4:00am PDT

First published: 23 December 2015, 4:23 IST
Shweta Sengar @ShwetaSengar

Shweta covers Science & Technology for Catch Live at Catch News, scouring the Internet to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. A foodie, photography enthusiast and globetrotter, she has also worked at The Economic Times before joining the Catch team. She studied Commerce at Kanpur University and has a PGD in Advanced Journalism from YMCA, New Delhi.