<p>Dust wafts across the North African coast in an image taken by NASA's Terra satellite. The plumes originated from Senegal, Mauritania, and Gambia, and their thick brown appearance reveals that the dust was kicked up recently-it is still tightly packed before fanning out over its a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape Verde Islands (at left) nestle in the waters just offshore. (For a different kind of long-distance dust journey, read about <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150128-big-bang-universe-supernova-astrophysics-health-space-ngbooktalk/">how cosmic dust can affect you</a>.)</p><p><em>—By Jane J. Lee, photo gallery by Sherry L. Brukbacher</em></p>

A Dusty Image

Dust wafts across the North African coast in an image taken by NASA's Terra satellite. The plumes originated from Senegal, Mauritania, and Gambia, and their thick brown appearance reveals that the dust was kicked up recently-it is still tightly packed before fanning out over its a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape Verde Islands (at left) nestle in the waters just offshore. (For a different kind of long-distance dust journey, read about how cosmic dust can affect you.)

—By Jane J. Lee, photo gallery by Sherry L. Brukbacher

Photograph by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory

Week's Best Space Pictures: A Galaxy Glows, Mars Gets a Bull's-Eye, and a Glacier Races

Galaxy clusters engage in shenanigans, NASA's next Mars mission paints a target, and a mitten appears on an ice cap in this week's best space pictures.

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