Vote Now! Best Space Stories of the Week - May 6, 2012

Dying Stars Munch on Planets, Supermoon Stares Down and Black Hole Bursts

Michael Wilce

From the bright supermoon to earth-like alien planets munching on stars, it's been a busy week in space. Vote for the week's best space story.

FIRST STOP: Giant Alien Planet May Have Split into 2 Earth-Size Worlds

Giant Alien Planet May Have Split into 2 Earth-Size Worlds

S. Charpinet

A massive alien planet that may have been ripped into Earth-size chunks by its dying parent star is offering a unique glimpse into the evolution of other worlds and their stars, scientists say. [Full Story]

NEXT: SETI Telescope to Help US Air Force Track Space Junk

SETI Telescope to Help US Air Force Track Space Junk

SETI Institute

A privately funded search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has pulled in its antenna horns a tad to help the U.S. Air Force gauge human-made space junk circling Earth. [Full Story]

NEXT: Mars Volcanic Glass May Be Hotspot for Life

Black Hole Unleashes Extraordinarily Bright X-Ray Burst

Left image - Optical: ESO/VLT; Close-up - X-ray: NASA/CXC/Curtin University/R. Soria et al., Optical: NASA/STScI/Middlebury College/F. Winkler et al.

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has discovered an extraordinary outburst by a black hole in the spiral galaxy M83, located about 15 million light years from Earth. [Full Story]

NEXT: Reusable Space Plane Idea Intrigues Europeans

Mars Volcanic Glass May Be Hotspot for Life

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Water may have played a role in forming plains of volcanic glass that spread across nearly a third of Mars. The interactions that shaped the glass also could create environments ripe for life. [Full Story]

NEXT: Black Hole Unleashes Extraordinarily Bright X-Ray Burst

Reusable Space Plane Idea Intrigues Europeans

ESA

A spaceplane called Vinci could be the vision vehicle for European Space Agency technology development aimed at realizing commercial suborbital transport for microgravity science, which NASA is already embarking on. [Full Story]

NEXT: Dark Matter Theories Challenged By Satellite Galaxy Discovery

Dark Matter Theories Challenged By Satellite Galaxy Discovery

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

Astronomers have discovered a vast structure of satellite galaxies and clusters of stars surrounding our galaxy, stretching out across a million light years. The work challenges the existence of dark matter, part of the standard model for the evolution of the universe. [Full Story]

NEXT: Death Valley Doubles as Martian Crater for Mars Rover Team

Death Valley Doubles as Martian Crater for Mars Rover Team

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Death Valley isn't a perfect stand-in for Mars — it's too hot here, for starters — but it's a great place to learn what NASA's new Curiosity rover will be doing once it arrives on the Red Planet in a few months. [Full Story]

NEXT: Monster Black Hole Caught Swallowing Unlucky Star

Monster Black Hole Caught Swallowing Unlucky Star

NASA, S. Gezari (The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.), A. Rest (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.), and R. Chornock (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Ma.)

Astronomers have grabbed a front-row seat to the death of an unlucky star as it is gobbled up by a giant black hole. Intense radiation flares signal the star's death by black hole. [Full Story]

NEXT: Europe to Explore Jupiter's Icy Moons with JUICE Spacecraft

Europe to Explore Jupiter's Icy Moons with JUICE Spacecraft

ESA/AOES

The European Space Agency will launch a deep-space mission to explore the icy moons of Jupiter in 2022, agency officials announced Tuesday (May 2). [Full Story]

NEXT: Spectacular 'Supermoon' Wows Skywatchers Around the World

Spectacular 'Supermoon' Wows Skywatchers Around the World

Tim McCord

The biggest full moon of the year, a so-called "supermoon," rose into the night sky Saturday to the delight of skywatchers around the world, who captured the lunar sight in dazzling amateur astronomy photos. [Full Story]

NEXT: NASA, SETI Use Airship to Hunt Meteorites From Big Fireball

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