Image of the Day: December 2011

The Survivor Comet

NASA

Thursday, December 29, 2011:Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth's horizon in this nighttime image photographed by NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander, onboard the International Space Station on Dec. 22, 2011.

Burbank said it was "the most amazing thing I've ever seen in space. And that's saying an awful lot because every day is filled with amazing things." [More Comet Lovejoy Photos]

— SPACE.com Staff

Headlights on the (Celestial) Parade

Casey Stanford

Friday, December 30, 2011:Skywatcher Casey Stanford captured this image of the moon and Venus from Mesa, Ariz. "I was reading the article on SPACE.com about the moon and Venus being in conjunction, and figured I'd send in a couple [photographs] that I snapped myself on December 26," Stanford wrote in an e-mail. See more skywatcher images of Venus and the moon in our new gallery.

— Tom Chao

Behind the Sun

NASA/SDO

Thursday, January 19, 2012: On Jan. 2, 2012, the sun blasted a solar flare and coronal mass ejection from its far side. However, SDO spacecraft was able to photograph the strands of rising particle clouds in extreme ultraviolet light from the near side. Portions of the strands were unable to break free of the sun's magnetic fields, and fell back to the sun, as seen here. The blast did not point at Earth.

— Tom Chao

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