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Best Space Photos of the Week - July 30, 2011

Moon Crater Crashes, Giant Black Holes and Meteorites

X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alabama/K.Wong et al, Optical: ESO/VLT

This week we saw a giant meteorite in China, a voracious black hole and a new view of the huge asteroid Vesta and more. Check out the most amazing space photos of the week.

Giant Meteorite Discovered in China

China Central Television

An enormous iron meteorite – one that would rank as one of the largest meteorites known – may have been found in the remote Altai mountains of the Xinjiang Uygur province in northwest China. News reports announced the find on July 25. [Read More]

New Photo Reveals Day & Night on Huge Asteroid Vesta

NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

A new image of Vesta, taken by the Dawn spacecraft on July 18 as it travels from the day side to the night side in its current orbit around the protoplanet, was been released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [Read More]

In a Land Down Under, Where Spacecraft Glow In a Land Down Under, Where Spacecraft Glow

Image Copyright: John Sarkissian

Scientist John Sarkissian captured this never-to-be-seen-again image of space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station streaking through the Australian sky with the Parkes 64 meter radio telescope in the foreground. Atlantis's trail moves right to left behind the radio telescope, while the space station follows arcing from the lower right corner of the frame, about two minutes behind Atlantis in low Earth orbit. The Parkes 64 meter radio telescope has a long connection to human spaceflight, having supplied television images from the moon to Earth during Apollo 11. Also visible in the night sky of New South Wales, Australia, are southerly constellations Vela, Puppis, and Hydra. Atlantis made its final landing on July 21, 2011, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This image was released to SPACE.com on July 26. [See Daily Space Photos]

You've Got to Hide Your Moon Away

ESO and Andy Strappazzon

An image of the moon composed by Andy Strappazzon from Belgium took fourth place in ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. Strappazzon searched through ESO's archive and identified datasets acquired by the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla in Chile, which he then used to compose his image of the moon. Here, the crescent moon shows sunlight skimming across the heavily pocked surface. This image was released to SPACE.com on July 27. [See Daily Space Photos]

Galaxy Triplets Pose for Cosmic Family Portrait

ESO/INAF-VST/OmegaCAM. Acknowledgement: OmegaCen/Astro-WISE/Kapteyn Institute

A triplet of spiral galaxies in the constellation of Leo appear in this image from the new VLT Survey Telescope. One of the science goals of the VST is to search for much fainter objects in the Milky Way, such as brown dwarf stars, planets, neutron stars and black holes. This image was released on July 27. [Read More]

First Asteroid Companion of Earth Discovered at Last

Paul Wiegert, The University of Western Ontario

Astronomers have discovered a small asteroid companion to Earth trailing our planet in a stable. so-called "Trojan" orbit. The Earth joins planets Jupiter, Mars and Neptune as worlds with trojan asteroids. The discovery was announced on July 26. [Read More]

3-D Printer Passes Zero Gravity Test to Make Space Tools

Made in Space

3-D printers that could crank out parts for spacecraft and space stations – from wrenches to screws – all while in orbit is becoming one step closer to reality. The company Made in Space announced their successful first test the week of July 29. [Read More]

Massive Sun 'Twister' Swirls Up 12 Earths High

NASA/SDO/GSFC

A video taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a plasma eruption that swirls up like a tornado to a dizzying height of up to 93,206 miles (150,000 kilometers) above the solar surface. The video and images were taken on July 12 and later released by NASA. [Read More]

Giant Black Hole Caught Gobbling Gas on Camera

X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alabama/K.Wong et al, Optical: ESO/VLT

The flow of hot gas toward a black hole has been clearly imaged for the first time in X-rays by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image was released on July 27. [Read More]

Weird Moon Crater May Be Crash Site of Old NASA Spacecraft

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

A peculiar looking impact on the moon with a "butterfly"-shaped ejecta pattern raises interesting questions about whether it was created by a chunk of space debris or from the crash landing of a space probe. The crater may be the moon grave of NASA's Lunar Orbiter 2. [Read More]

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