Best Space Photos of the Week - Aug. 6, 2011

The Sun Smiles, Juno Launches and Two Heads Are Better Than One

NASA/SDO/GSFC

This week we watched the Juno spacecraft launch for a five-year mission to Jupiter and caught the sun smiling. Check out the most amazing space photos of the week.

Asteroid Vesta Home to 'Snowman' Made of Craters

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

A new image of the asteroid Vesta shows three craters, nicknamed "Snowman" because of their shape, in the space rock's northern hemisphere. [Full Story]

Smiley Face on the Sun? New Video Shows All

NASA/SDO/GSFC

A pattern of sunspots formed recently on our nearest star gives the impression of a solar happy face smiling from above. [Full Story]

You're Sixteen

ESO

The first European antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) crawls along a Chilean road on its way to the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters above sea level. Here, it joins antennas from the other international ALMA partners, bringing the total number to 16, meeting the minimum requirement to begin science observations. Soon, astronomers will begin conducting new scientific research with ALMA. [View all images]

96 Hidden Star Clusters Discovered by Dust-Piercing Telescope

ESO/J. Borissova

Using data from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has discovered 96 new open star clusters hidden by the dust in the Milky Way. [Full Story]

Hints of Water Spark Fresh Hope for Life on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The evidence of possible liquid water on Mars, announced Aug. 4 has scientists excited about the Red Planet's potential to host life. [Full Story]

Solar Flare May Spark Dazzling Northern Lights Displays Friday

NASA/SDO

Those who look to the skies on Friday (Aug. 5) may see exceptional auroras thanks to a moderate solar storm that hurled a cloud of plasma toward Earth earlier this week. [Full Story]

Two for the Price of One

Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA/Processing: Martin Pugh

Not one, but two spiral galaxies make up NGC 3314. In the foreground, one galaxy appears face-on to us. The glow of the background galaxy brings out the dark swirls of interstellar dust in the foreground galaxy, a rare opportunity to explore the distribution of a galaxy's dust. NGC 3314 lies about 140 million light-years (background galaxy) and 117 million light-years (foreground galaxy) away in the multi-headed constellation Hydra. [View all images]

Art of Space: NASA Exhibit Launches Artist as Icon

Barbara Prey

As a child, Barbara Prey would watch her mother paint and dream that she, too, would someday become an artist. The New York-based artist is also one of a select few artists chosen by NASA to have their work displayed at the National Air and Space Museum as part of The Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit NASA | Art: 50 Years of Exploration. [Full Story]

Juno Launch as Seen by Astronaut Nicole Stott

Nicole Stott (via Twitter as @Astro_Nicole)

Astronaut Nicole Stott caught Juno's launch on August 5, 2011. She tweeted the picture with this comment: "Our view of Juno launch from Cocoa Beach. Next stop Jupiter! Beautiful!" [View all images]

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