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Holiday calendar: Happy St. Lucy's Day, from space

The MODIS imager on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of southern Sweden on Nov. 17. Jeff Schmaltz / MODIS LRRT / NASA GSFC

It's not just Friday the 13th: This is also St. Lucy's Day, which is an important part of the holiday season in Sweden, Italy and other places. In honor of the occasion, we're highlighting a long-range view of southern Sweden, captured last month by NASA's Aqua satellite, as the day's featured image from the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar. Do you see that big island off to the east, in the Baltic Sea? That's Gotland Island, which was Dec. 9's calendar pin-up.

In Sweden and other Nordic countries, St. Lucy's Day is marked by candlelit processions, feasts and carols. In parts of Italy, Santa Lucia traditionally leaves goodies for well-behaved children and lumps of coal for the naughty ones on the night of Dec. 12-13.

Looking for more goodies from space? We're only halfway through our Advent calendar, which provides daily servings of satellite imagery through Christmas. But because you're so nice, you can help yourself to extra cosmic sights from The Atlantic's Hubble Advent CalendarZooniverse's Advent calendar and the Galileo's Pendulum Science Advent Calendar.

Previously on the Space Advent Calendar:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the NBC News Science Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.