<p>An H-2A rocket launches from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, carrying the country’s <a href="http://astro-h.isas.jaxa.jp/en/">ASTRO-H</a> X-ray observatory into orbit. The satellite, called Hitomi (“eye pupil”), will study black holes.</p>

Up, Up, and Away

An H-2A rocket launches from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, carrying the country’s ASTRO-H X-ray observatory into orbit. The satellite, called Hitomi (“eye pupil”), will study black holes.

Photograph by Jiji Press, Getty

Week’s Best Space Pictures: Off to Hunt for Black Holes

Ceres shows off its stacked layers of craters, and satellites document the shrinking of China’s largest freshwater lake.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our picks for the week’s most awe-inspiring space pictures.

This week, a young star gleams through clouds of dust, satellites spot a rumbling volcano, and Ceres’ pockmarked surface showcases overlapping layers of ancient craters.

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