Best Space Photos of the Week - March 3, 2012

Lunar Halo Lights Up Orion in Skywatcher Photo

Shingo Takei

On a perfectly still winter night, the famous constellation Orion shone around a beautiful lunar halo in a photograph taken by a Japanese amateur astronomer. [Full Story]

Astronaut Catches Spectacular Night View of US Cities from Space

NASA

A member of the International Space Station's Expedition 30 crew captured a remarkable nighttime image of the Atlantic coast of the United States, with several large metropolitan cities easily recognizable. [Full Story]

Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and Star Trails

Roberto Porto

The brightest planets in the night sky wowed skywatchers around the world this weekend, with a dazzling crescent moon completing the scene. See photos of the celestial sight and learn how to see it again in March. [Full Story]

Alien Thinking: The Conceptual Space Art of Jonathon Keats

Jonathon Keats courtesy of Jen Dessinger

A look at the space-themed works of experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. [Full Story]

Booming Crescent Nebula Shines in Skywatcher Photo

Ian Sharp

The cloud of dust glimmering in this image represents the Crescent Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. [Full Story]

Thor's Helmet: Skywatcher Sees Glowing Gas Space Bubble

Bill Snyder

Astrophotographer Bill Snyder captured this spectacular view of massive cosmic cloud commonly known as Thor’s Helmet. [Full Story]

Italy Sparkles in Dazzling Nighttime Photo From Space

NASA

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured a jaw-dropping nighttime panorama over Europe, with the "boot" of Italy clearly defined by the country's twinkling lights. [Full Story]

Skywatcher Traps Head of Cosmic Scorpion in Photo

Babak Tafreshi/TWAN

Over snow-covered peaks in Western Austria, skywatcher Babak Tafreshi captured the head of Scorpius. [Full Story]

Space Station's Aurora Fly-Through

NASA

The International Space Station has a unique view of geomagnetic storms as it flys above the green and through the purple and red lights produced by oxygen atoms in various states of excitation. The science behind the phenomenon is examined.[See the video]

The Bullet Cluster

X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/M.Markevitch et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.; Lensing Map: NASA/STScI; ESO WFI; Magellan/U.Arizona/D.Clowe et al.

Though dark matter is invisible, photos of galaxy clusters and gravitational lensing hint at its nature. [Full Story]

Saturn's Icy Moon Dione Has Oxygen Atmosphere

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A NASA spacecraft circling Saturn has discovered a wispy oxygen atmosphere on the ringed planet's icy moon Dione, but you wouldn't want to live there. For one thing, you wouldn't be able to breathe — Dione's atmosphere is 5 trillion times less dense than the air at Earth's surface, scientists say. [Full Story]

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