Best Space Photos of the Week - Dec. 17, 2011

Cozy up to Asteroids, Watch the Birth of New Stars, and See the Moon Dissappear

NASA/ESA

From photos of the last eclipse of the yea to a cosmic angel, there were some stunning views from space this week.

Don't miss these stunning photos and images from the last week in space.

Photos: Total Lunar Eclipse of December 2011

Charles R. Jones II

Gallery of photos of the Dec. 10, 2011 total lunar eclipse. [See More Photos]

Into the Clouds

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Clouds give an unusual impression of radiating from the full-sized high-fidelity space shuttle model formerly displayed at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Workers pull the transporter out from under the model on December 11, 2011, following its delivery to Kennedy's Launch Complex 39 turn basin. The shuttle model made up part of a full-sized display that also included an external tank and two solid rocket boosters. The model will move in a few months' time to Johnson Space Center in Texas, clearing the way for a new facility to display Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2013. [See More Photos]

Down Argentine Way

NASA/JSC

A large plume of dust blows across Argentina in this astronaut photo taken on the International Space Station, November 22, 2011. The city of Bahia Blanca lies at the center (at the angle in the coastline), with the dust plume visible as the brownish-gray area directly above. Sun glint on the Atlantic Ocean and clouds highlight the left side of the image. A docked Russian Progress spacecraft hangs in the foreground at upper right. Northwestern and central Argentina frequently experience dust storms. Dry westerlies blowing down from the Andes Mountains produce sudden and extensive clouds of fine soil. The strong winds are called the pampero sucio. [See More Photos]

Photos: Geminid Meteor Shower of December 2011

The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight, but like several other showers this year, the light show could be spoiled by bright moonlight. [See More Photos]

Death-Defying Comet: Photos of Comet Lovejoy's Dive Through Sun

NRL/SOHO/LASCO

A newfound comet that plunged through the sun's atmosphere Thursday (Dec. 15) — and amazingly survived — was visibly maimed by the encounter, which left the icy wanderer without its long, bright tail, a scientist says. [See More Photos]

X-Ray Heartbeat May Reveal Smallest Black Hole Ever Found

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

Scientists may have found the smallest black hole yet, by listening to its cosmic "heartbeat." [Read More]

A Star is Born: Skywatcher Photo Captures Dark-Hued Nebula

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

The deep colors and dark clouds in this space nebula image resemble paintings by some of history's greatest artists. [Read More]

'Silver Dollar' Galaxy Glistens in New Photo

ESO/INAF-VST Acknowledgement: A. Grado/L. Limatola/INAF-Capodimonte Observatory

The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) has captured the beauty of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 253. The new portrait is probably the most detailed wide-field view of this object and its surroundings ever taken. [Read More]

Celestial 'Snow Angel' Dazzles in Hubble Telescope Photo

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Just in time for the holidays, the Hubble Space Telescope has snapped a spectacular view of a star-forming region in our Milky Way galaxy that looks like a snow angel in deep space. [Read More]

NASA Spacecraft Cozies Up to Gigantic Asteroid

NASA/JPL-Caltech

A NASA spacecraft is getting its best look yet at the asteroid Vesta as it zooms closer than ever to the space rock's surface. [Read More]

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