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Best Space Photos of the Week - Jan. 7, 2012

Smoky Pink, Dazzling Purple And Silver Streaks

ESO

From a dazzling meteor shower to a smoky nebula with a bright heart, it's been a remarkable week for space photography.

Take a look at the most stunning space photos of the week here.

Jupiter & the Moon Dazzle Skywatchers With Celestial Dance

Kevin L. Hudson

The moon and Jupiter kicked off a new year of skywatching Monday night (Jan. 2) in a cosmic rendezvous that amazed skywatchers around the world. [Full Story]

NEXT: Smoky Nebula's Bright Pink Heart Shines in New Photo

Smoky Nebula's Bright Pink Heart Shines in New Photo

ESO

A new image of the Omega Nebula, captured by ESO's Very Large Telescope, is one of the sharpest of this object ever taken from the ground. It shows the dusty, rose-coloured central parts of this famous stellar nursery and reveals extraordinary detail in the cosmic landscape of gas clouds, dust and newborn stars. [Full Story]

NEXT: Giant Moon Crater Revealed in Up-Close Photos

Giant Moon Crater Revealed in Up-Close Photos

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Spectacular new images of a gigantic crater on the moon have been captured recently by a low-skimming NASA satellite, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Full Story]

NEXT: Spectacular Photos: 1st Meteor Shower of 2012 Amazes Skywatchers

Spectacular Photos: 1st Meteor Shower of 2012 Amazes Skywatchers

Roberto Porto

A dazzling display of "shooting stars" kicked off the 2012 skywatching season early Wednesday (Jan. 4), thrilling amateur astronomers around the world with views of the Quadrantid meteor shower. [Full Story]

NEXT: Purple Haze: Skywatcher Snaps Stunning Photo of Dumbbell Nebula

Purple Haze: Skywatcher Snaps Stunning Photo of Dumbbell Nebula

Bill Snyder

A purple glow seems to burst out of space in this stunning image by skywatcher Bill Snyder. The image is of the Dumbell Nebula or M27 seen near the constellation of Vulpecula or "little fox." [Full Story]

NEXT: Skywatcher Catches Video of Doomed Russian Mars Probe

Skywatcher Catches Video of Doomed Russian Mars Probe

Thierry Legault

A veteran skywatcher has snapped an amazing video of Russia's failed Mars probe as the craft heads toward a destructive plunge into Earth's atmosphere this month. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Picks Mars Winter Rest Stop for Long-Lived Rover

NASA Picks Mars Winter Rest Stop for Long-Lived Rover

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has found a good place to wait out the harsh Martian winter — and to get some more science done as well. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA Tests Parachutes for New Deep Space Capsule

NASA Tests Parachutes for New Deep Space Capsule

NASA

NASA recently conducted a test of its Orion deep-space capsule's parachutes high over the Arizona desert. [Full Story]

NEXT: Self Portrait

Self Portrait

NASA/Tom Ryan

NASA research pilot Tom Ryan manages a self-portrait while streaking over New Mexico in the ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft on a high-altitude mission carrying the MABEL laser instrument in April 2011. MABEL (Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar) will demonstrate the photon-counting altimetry approach to simulate measurements from NASA's next ice-observing satellite, ICESat-2, scheduled for launch in 2016. [See all daily space photos]

NEXT: Pink, It's My New Obsession

Pink, It's My New Obsession

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Object IC 2574, a dwarf irregular galaxy, contains pink bubbles blown by supernova explosions The color of these shells derives from hydrogen gas irradiated by newborn stars. Shock waves from earlier supernova detonations that compressed material together triggered formation of the stars. IC 2574 is commonly known as Coddington's Nebula after the American astronomer Edwin Coddington, who discovered it in 1898. IC 2574 is located about 12 million light-years away, belonging to the Messier 81 group of galaxies. [See all daily space photos]

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