Best Space Photos of the Week - Feb. 18, 2012

SDO Sees Sun Tornadoes

NASA/SDO

Tornado-like plasma twisters dance across the sun in this still from a NASA video recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory during a 30-hour period between Feb. 7 and 8 in 2012. [Full Story and Video]

Southeastern United States Seen from Space

NASA

Southeastern USA at night is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station. The brightly lit metropolitan areas of Atlanta, GA (center) and Jacksonville, FL (lower right) appear largest in the image with numerous other urban areas forming an interconnected network of light across the region. Image released Jan. 29, 2012. [Full Wallpaper for Computer Desktop]

Hungarian Moon Halo

Tamas Ladanyi / World at Night (TWAN)

Astrophotographer Tamas Ladanyi of the World at Night (TWAN) took this spectacular image of a lunar halo over a castle in Veszprem, Hungary on Feb. 2, 2012. This image was posted on Feb. 17, 2012. [Full Story]

Cassini Photo of Saturn Moons Rhea and Titan

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Craters appear well defined on icy Rhea in front of the hazy orb of larger Titan in this view of the two Saturn moons. NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped the photo on Dec. 10, 2011. This photo was posted on Feb. 16, 2012. [Full Story]

NGC 6752 Globular Cluster

ESA/Hubble & NASA

NGC 6752 globular cluster has blazed for over 10 billion years as one of the most ancient collections of stars known. It has existed over twice as long as our solar system. NGC 6752 contains a high number of "blue straggler" stars, the origin of which remains a mystery. These stars display characteristics of stars younger than their neighbors. Collisions between stars in this turbulent area could produce the blue stragglers that are so prevalent. NGC 6752 lies 13,000 light-years from Earth. This image was posted on Feb. 14, 2012. [Full Gallery of Daily Space Photos]

Aurora Borealis above Yellowknife, NWT

Auroramax

For reasons scientists can't yet explain, the northern lights blazed up in a dazzling display this week, despite the apparent lack of a major solar flare typically associated with these celestial light shows.

This image shows the northern lights over Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada at 02:21 MST on February 14, 2012. [Full Story and More Photos]

North America Nebula

Jean-Luc Dauvergne

The image was taken by Jean-Luc Dauvergne in August 2007 from the observatory at the Pic du Midi mountain. This image was posted on Feb. 16, 2012. [Full Story]

Use the Force

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

These lightsabers from toy company Uncle Milton would do any Star Wars fan proud. The light sabers were unveiled at the 109th International Toy Fair in New York City this week. [Full Photo Gallery]

Misty Solar Eclipse

Tamas Ladanyi/The World At Night(TWAN)

Skywatcher Tamas Ladanyi of The World At Night (TWAN) captured this image of the eclipsed sun glowing above Kab Mountain in Hungary on Jan. 4, 2011. This image was posted on Feb. 15, 2012. [Full Story]

Earth In a Droplet

Markus Reugels, LiquidArt

Photographer Markus Reugels uses high-speed photography to capture these images of falling droplets. [Full Story]

Survivor Black Hole

NASA, ESA, and S. Farrell (Sydney Institute for Astronomy, University of Sydney)

This spectacular edge-on galaxy, called ESO 243-49, is home to an intermediate-mass black hole that may have been stripped off of a cannibalized dwarf galaxy. This image was released on Feb. 15, 2012. [Full Story]

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