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Best Space Photos of the Week - Oct. 15, 2011

Paper Moon, Warped Galaxies and Giant Mountains

Martin Dietzel and Mario Sämisch

This week we saw a skywatcher catch the moon in his hands, spectacular southern lights and found out the secret behind the Hexagon spy satellite.

See some of the best space photos of the week of Oct. 15, 2011.

Astronaut Video Shows Spectacular Auroras From Space

NASA

A striking video features a set of spectacular images that were captured by the International Space Station's Expedition 29 crew on September 17, 2011, while cruising over the Indian Ocean near Australia and south of Madagascar. [Full Story]

New Map of Saturn Moon Titan Reveals Surprisingly Earth-Like Features

JPL/NASA/Univ. of Arizona/CNRS/LPGNantes

An international team led by the University of Nantes has pieced together images gathered over six years by the Cassini mission to create a global mosaic of the surface of Titan. [Full Story]

Moon Packed with Precious Titanium, NASA Probe Finds

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

A new map of the moon has uncovered a trove of areas rich in precious titanium ore — with some moon rocks harboring 10 times richer titanium than on Earth. [Full Story]

Giant Asteroid Mountain Taller Than Mt. Everest Photographed

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

A new NASA image of the giant asteroid Vesta offers an intriguing look at its tallest mountain. Vesta's tallest mountain is nearly three times as high as Mt. Everest on Earth. [Full Story]

Private Spaceship Factory Opens for Business in Calif. Desert

Virgin Galactic/Griffin Communications Group

In grand opening ceremony style, a factory site to crank out public space transportation vehicles has opened its hangar doors. The $8 million hangar was specifically designed and built to support the final stages of assembly and integration for prime customer Virgin Galactic’s fleet of passenger-carrying suborbital SpaceShipTwos and the mothership launch craft, WhiteKnightTwos. [Full Story]

Warped Galaxies Reveal Signs of Universe's Hidden Dark Matter

NASA, ESA, M. Postman (STScI) and the CLASH Team

Warped visions of distant galaxy clusters are offering a reflection of the invisible matter inside them that astronomers are using to map the unseen side of the universe. [Full Story]

From Oct. 14-16 at the Charles Bank Gallery in New York, artwork by ten American artists that was exhibited on the International Space Station during space tourist Richard Garriott's 2008 flight to the station, will be exhibited for the first time on Earth. [Full Story]

Secret No More: Spy Satellite Designer Reveals Life's Work

Phil Pressel had kept a secret for 46 years. A secret that he shared with no one, not even his wife, since he first went to work for the Perkin-Elmer optics company in 1965. [Full Story]

Skywatcher Shoots 'Paper Moon' In Palm Of His Hands

Martin Dietzel and Mario Sämisch

Skywatchers Martin Dietzel and Mario Sämisch captured this remarkable image of Earth’s gibbous moon projected into the hands of an observer holding tissue paper in Casa del Romano, Italy, August 18, 2011. [Full Story]

Swirls in Space: Whirlpool Galaxy Shines in Skywatcher Photo

Ian Sharp

The Whirlpool galaxy shines majestically in a dynamic image snapped by a British amateur astronomer in Ham, a small village on the South Coast of England. [Full Story]

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