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Best Earth Images of the Week - Jan. 27, 2012

Cool Clouds, Rare Animals and Our Blue Marble

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Home, sweet home. Earth as it appeared on Jan. 4. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring.)

Cool clouds around the world, rare animals and our Blue Marble round out our favorite picks. Check these out.

Islands and Cloud Streets

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Strong winds off the ocean stretch the clouds into long, parallel 'streets'. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team)

Strong winds stretched marine clouds into parallel 'streets,' the intricate patterns carved into the clouds by symmetric eddies. Snow, sea ice, clouds and volcanic peaks spread across the image.

[Full Story: Clouds Streets Form Off Alaska Coast]

A Breathtaking View

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Home, sweet home. Earth as it appeared on Jan. 4. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring.)

The Suomi NPP Satellite, named for the late meteorologist Verner E. Suomi, has sent back an amazing image of our "Blue Marble."

The newest Earth-watching satellite is equipped with instruments to improve short-term weather forecasts, understand long-term climate change and even monitor natural disasters.

[Full Story: Hello, Earth! New Satellite Sends Back 'Blue Marble' Image]

Species Spotted: Spider-Monkeys Return

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Who me? A critically endangered brown spider monkey hangs in the forest canopy. (Image credit: Nestor Roncancio/WCS.)

One of the rarest primates on Earth was seen at a national park in Colombia. It is believed that populations of this brown spider monkey have dropped by 80 percent or more in the last 50 years.

The siting in the protected area gives hope to a rebound.

[Full Story: Near-Extinct Spider Monkey Spotted]

Spilled Milk on a Grand Scale

low lying clouds, oregon, northwestern united states

Low lying clouds lok like spilled milk around the Oregon coast. (Image credit: NASA)

In the northwestern United States, upwelling in the ocean creates low-lying marine stratocumulus clouds. These clouds seep into bays, low-lying coves and waterways, producing the look of spilled milk over a cracked table.

[Full Story: Clouds Like Spilled Milk]

Toxic Cutie

leaf beetle species from suriname

This leaf beetle (Stilodes sedecimmaculata) is found only in the Guyana Shield — a geological formation that underlies Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, as well as parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. More than 35,000 leaf beetle species exist in the world, many feeding only on a particular type of host plant. The beetles store toxic chemicals from the plants they eat, and advertise this toxicity with bright colors to warn off predators. This species, though not new to science, was seen in southwest Suriname during a 2010 Conservation International survey. was observed during Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program in southwest Suriname in August and September 2010. (Image credit: © Trond Larsen)

This leaf beetle, found only in the Guyana Shield, advertises its toxicity with bright colors to warn off predators.

[Full Story: New Species Gallery: Expedition in to Suriname's Jungles]

Caught Red Pawed

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Oh hai! A snow leopard checks out a camera trap on a high mountain in Tajikistan. (Image credit: Panthera/FFI.)

Camera traps in the remote Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan have revealed at least five snow leopards. These are one of the most elusive cats on Earth.

This endangered breed is also responsible for stealing one of the camera traps. In a surprising catch, two rascally cubs were seen playing with the rig.

[Watch the Video: Elusive Snow Leopards Photographed, Steal Camera]

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.