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Best Space Photos of the Week - Feb. 25, 2012

NASA Launches Rocket Into Aurora: Feb. 18, 2012

Terry E. Zaperach, NASA

A team of scientists launched a small rocket into an eye-popping northern lights display Saturday (Feb. 18) in an attempt to discover what makes auroras tick. [Full Story]

Aurora over Lake Superior

Shawn Malone

Astrophotographer Shawn Malone of Marquette, Mich., took this shot of an aurora on Feb. 18, 2012. Malone appears in the photo seated in the chair. [Full Story]

Lunar Transit of Sun, Feb. 21, 2012

NASA/SDO

A NASA spacecraft has captured stunning footage of Tuesday's (Feb. 21) partial solar eclipse, which left our star looking briefly like a huge celestial Pac-Man.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was watching Tuesday morning when the new moon crossed part of the sun's face in a partial eclipse that was visible only from space. SDO snapped a video and photos of the solar eclipse from its lofty perch 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth. [Full Story]

Playboy Club in Space

Thomas Tenery/Playboy Enterprises

Playboy has dreamed up a vision of a Playboy Club in space — a sprawling sci-fi-inspired depiction of fun and games on a huge private space station – in conjunction with the space tourism company Virgin Galactic. [Full Story]

Dark Nebula Delights in Skywatcher's Photo

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Resembling a dancer twirling her skirt in the wind, this image of the Lynd's Dark Nebula (LDN 1622) glows with deep blue and maroon colors.

The picture was taken by skywatcher and photographer Adam Block from the University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon Sky Center. [Full Story]

'Angry Birds Space' Game Coming Soon

Rovio Mobile

Heads-up universe, a flock of furious feathered fighters is coming your way. Having conquered Earth – or at least its mobile and social networks – Angry Birds is launching into outer space with the latest version of Rovio Mobile's popular strategy puzzle game. [Full Story]

MUOS-1 Satellite Launches on Atlas 5 Rocket

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 24, 2012, with the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System-1 (MUOS-1) satellite. At nearly 15,000 pounds, MUOS-1 marks the heaviest satellite launched to date by an Atlas launch vehicle. [Full Launch Photo Gallery]

John Glenn at 50th Anniversary Press Conference

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, seated right, and Sen. John Glenn address questions from the press during a briefing at Ohio State University as John Glenn's wife Annie Glenn, seated in red, looks on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic flight. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth. [Full Photo Gallery]

NGC 1333 Skywatching

J.P. Brahic

An aqua burst of light glows from this image of NGC 1333 taken by French skywatcher Jean-Pierre Brahic, in December 2011. The reflection nebula is located in the constellation Perseus. [Full Story]

Zero Gravity Rollercoaster 'Vomit Comet'

BRC Imagination Arts

Think about the tallest, wildest roller coaster you've ever been on. If a Southern California design firm has its way, you haven't felt anything yet.

LEGO Space Station on Real Space Station

NASA

It took more than 200 astronauts from 12 countries more than a dozen years to build the International Space Station (ISS). Satoshi Furukawa, an astronaut from Japan, matched that feat in just about two hours — and he did it all while aboard the orbiting outpost itself.

It helped that his space station was made out of LEGO.

"It was a great opportunity for me to have built the LEGO space station," Furukawa, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) flight engineer, told collectSPACE.com in an interview after he returned to Earth. "I enjoyed building it." [Full Story]

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