Best Space Photos of the Week - Sept. 10, 2011

9/11 Seen From Space, A Stealth Planet and Hurricane Katia


This week, we saw haunting images of 9/11 from space, the world's largest solid rocket motor launch, and more space imagery than you can shake a stick at.

Take a look at some of the best photos from space in the past seven days:

NASA Unveils New Detailed Photos of Apollo Moon Landing Sites


New photos from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show the Apollo moon landing sites in high-resolution, revealing details that could solve historical mysteries about the first manned moon landings. [Full Story]

Astronauts Admire Hurricane Katia from Above


Astronauts aboard the International Space Station had a bird's-eye view of the 2011 hurricane season, flying over and snapping pictures of several storms. Hurricane Katia is no exception, but luckily it isn't likely to cause much damage down on the ground. [Full Story]

Colorful Star Cluster Shines in Tarantula Nebula's Shadow


A striking image of an open star cluster surrounded by the spidery Tarantula Nebula has been captured by the European Southern Observatory's New Technology Telescope. Officials released the stunning image on Wednesday, Sept. 7. [Full Story]

World's Largest Solid Rocket Motor Ignites in Utah Desert Test


A full-scale test of the world's largest solid rocket motor, which was originally envisioned to power a new NASA rocket, went off without a hitch in Utah's high desert this week. The Sept. 8 test was the third for the rocket motor, which may serve as the core of a new private rocket or as part of NASA's new booster. [Full Story]

Remembering 9/11: An Astronaut's Painful View From Space


While the horrifying sight of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center stunned the world, one American literally saw the scale of the event like no other: Frank Culbertson saw the attack’s aftermath from space. [Full Story]

New Photo of Moon's North Pole Reveals Spiral Illusion

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

NASA scientists created a mosaic of the moon's North Pole by stitching together 983 images of the region taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). NASA released the photo this week. [Full Story]

Stealth Alien Planet Discovered By New Technique

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

For the first time, scientists have definitively discovered an alien planet by noticing how its gravity affects the orbit of a neighbor world. The planet discovery was announced on Sept. 8. [Full Story]

Astronauts Spot Texas Wildfires From Space

NASA/Ron Garan

This week the wildfires burning in Texas were visible all the way from space, as seen in photos by astronauts on the International Space Station. [Full Story]

Blast Them!

ESO/M. Kornmesser

The European Southern Observatory tested its new Wendelstein laser guide star unit at the Allgäu Public Observatory in southwestern Bavaria, Germany, on August 18, 2011. The observatory shot a powerful laser beam into the atmosphere while, coincidentally, lighting flashed in the distance as the photographer recorded the test. The laser emits a 20-watt beam, but the power in a bolt of lightning peaks at a trillion (one million million) watts, albeit for just a fraction of a second. ESO commented that the photograph provided "a very visual demonstration of why ESO's telescopes are in Chile, and not in Germany." [See the more daily space photos in this gallery]

On the Border

ISS Crew Earth Observations/Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center

An astronaut in the International Space Station caught this nighttime view of northern India and northern Pakistan. The capital cities of Islamabad, Pakistan and New Delhi, India, glow the brightest at bottom and top of this image, respectively. Between them lies another city, Lahore, with numerous highways snaking from it. The distinct orange line just above Lahore that divides the image in half is the border zone between the two countries. At left, the grayish area contains the partly cloud-covered Himalayas. In the background, airglow hangs 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the Earth. [See the more daily space photos in this gallery]

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