This week we caught the birth of an alien planet, excitedly watched a Russian rocket launch and got closer to going on vacation to space.
<p>See some of the best space photos of the week of Oct. 21, 2011.
The operating hub for public space travel is being dedicated here today (Oct. 17), home base for pay-per-view suborbital treks out of Earth's atmosphere. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13294-spaceport-america-virgin-galactic-dedication.html">Full Story</a>]
Global and high resolution mapping of Enceladus confirms that the weather forecast for Saturn's unique icy moon is set for ongoing snow flurries. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13314-saturn-moon-enceladus-weather-snow-flurries.html">Full Story</a>]
NASA recently opened the doors to its SOFIA flying observatory at the space agency's Ames Research Center in California. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13318-nasa-sofia-airborne-telescope-ames-research-center-tour.html">Full Story</a>]
The Soyuz spacecraft that returned space tourist Greg Olsen to Earth after his privately paid journey to the International Space Station was delivered via crane onto the deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum here in New York City today. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13315-soyuz-capsule-intrepid-museum-space-tourist-greg-olsen.html">Full Story</a>]
Two newly discovered globular clusters have been added to the total of just 158 known globular clusters in our Milky Way. They were found in new images from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope as part of the Via Lactea survey. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13321-rare-ancient-star-clusters-discovery.html">Full Story</a>]
A Soyuz rocket blasted off this morning from South America, lofting to orbit the first two pieces of Europe's Galileo global positioning system. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13349-russia-soyuz-rocket-galileo-satellites-launch.html">Full Story</a>]
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence of a solar system experiencing a comet bombardment similar to the one that occurred around our own sun billions of years ago. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13329-alien-solar-system-comet-bombardment.html">Full Story</a>]
Skywatching enthusiasts Bob and Janice Fera took a spectacular image of the brilliant NGC 896 Emission Nebula, the brightest part of the Heart Nebula, between Sept. 26 and 27 at the Eagle Ridge Observatory, Foresthill, Calif. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13271-brilliant-nebula-ngc-896-skywatcher-photo.html">Full Story</a>]
Astronomers have discovered the youngest exoplanet ever found, spotting the alien world as it's coalescing from the dusty disk around its parent star, a new study reports. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13328-youngest-alien-planet-exoplanet-formation.html">Full Story</a>]
A delicate-looking cosmic bubble shape appears to float inside a distant nebula in this stunning view captured by California-based skywatcher Larry Van Vleet. [<a href="http://www.space.com/13306-giant-space-bubble-nebula-skywatcher-photo.html">Full Story</a>]