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Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week - Aug. 28, 2011

Irene from Space, Retired Shuttles and More

NASA via Ron Garan/@Astro_Ron

This week we tracked Hurricane Irene from space, watched a black hole swallow a star and solved the mystery of earth's asteroids.Vote for your top space story of the week:

Five Years Later, Pluto's Planethood Demotion Still Stirs Controversy

David Aguilar/Center for Astrophysics

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet. What did the demotion mean, and what has changed in the last five years? [Full Story]

Russian Space Station Cargo Ship Crashes in Failed Rocket Launch


An unmanned Russian space cargo ship failed to reach orbit after a failed launch from its Central Asia launch site today (Aug. 24). The cargo ship was carrying more than 2 tons of supplies for the International Space Station. [Full Story]

How Cold Is a Y Dwarf Star? Even You Are Warmer


NASA's WISE spacecraft has detected the coolest star-like bodies known, with temperatures around those of the human body. [Full Story]

Black Hole Caught in Act of Swallowing Star


A supermassive black hole has been observed as it apparently pulls apart and swallows a star that got too close, offering a rare chance to see the birth of its relativisitic jet. [Full Story]

Hurricane Irene Looks 'Terrifying' From Space, Astronaut Says

NASA via Ron Garan/@Astro_Ron

NASA astronaut Mike Fossum said that Hurricane Irene, like all hurricanes, looks "terrifying from above," and its evolution into a major storm this week has been unmistakable from his vantage point in orbit. [Full Story]

Surprise! Alien Planet Made of Diamond Discovered

Swinburne Astronomy Productions

The densest planet yet discovered orbits a millisecond pulsar, a remnant of a star more massive than the sun. Only the second millisecond pulsar found to have a planet, this discovery can help astronomers understand how these systems form. [Full Story]

US Military Video Shows Hypersonic Aircraft Test Flight


DARPA released video, as well as some new details, of the Aug. 11 test flight of its HTV-2 prototype vehicle this week.[Full Story]

Mystery Solved: Earth's Meteorites Came From Stony Asteroids

Univ Tokyo/JAXA

The longstanding mystery of where most meteorites striking our planet come from has now been solved by the first asteroid samples that a spacecraft has ever returned to Earth. [Full Story]

Closest Supernova in 25 Years Is a 'Cosmic Classic,' Astronomers Say

Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory

Astronomers have spotted the closest supernova in a generation — and in a week or so, stargazers with a good pair of binoculars might be able to see it, too. [Full Story]

NASA Chose Right Museums for Retired Space Shuttles, Report Finds

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

NASA's selection of display locations for its retired space shuttles in California, Florida, New York and Virginia was carried out fairly and without improper influence, federal investigators reported Thursday (Aug. 25). [Full Story]

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