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Best Space Photos of the Week - June 2, 2012

Visions of Valhalla: Skywatcher Captures Spectacular Aurora on Camera

P-M Hedén/TWAN

Swedish skywatcher P-M Heden snapped this amazing photo of the stunning northern lights over a frozen lake in northern Sweden. The auroras are caused by interactions of the solar wind and Earth's upper atmosphere. Swedish skywatcher P-M Heden snapped this amazing photo of the stunning northern lights over a frozen lake in northern Sweden. The auroras are caused by interactions of the solar wind and Earth's upper atmosphere. [Full Story]

Colossal Coma Cluster of Galaxies Dominates Skywatcher Photo

Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Astrophotographer Adam Block captured this image of the Coma cluster, or Abell 1656, from Arizona's Mount Lemmon SkyCenter in February 2012. [Full Story]

Majestic Sunspot Blesses Basilica at Sunrise in Spectacular Picture

Skywatcher Stefano De Rosa sent this image of Sunspot AR1476.

A magnificent sun rises alongside the Basilica of Superga in Turin, Italy, with the massive sunspot AR 1476 in clear view. [Full Story]

New Private Space Plane Passes 1st Flight Test

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

The private spaceflight company Sierra Nevada took its Dream Chaser space plane out on a captive-carry flight test on Tuesday (May 29). [Full Story]

'Big Bird' on the Sun Spotted in Spacecraft Photo

NASA/SDO

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has snapped a shot of a so-called coronal hole on the sun that looks a lot like Big Bird. [Full Story]

Space Shuttle Replica Docks in Houston Lake, Launches 'Shuttlebration'

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

A full-scale space shuttle replica came into dock on Friday (June 1), but rather than pull into an orbiting space station, it arrived at port in a Texas lake near NASA's Houston space center. [Full Story]

Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor

Make sure to see the June 5 passage of the planet Venus across the face of the sun: a similar event won't happen again until the year 2117. [Full Photo Gallery]

NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), and A. Mellinger

This photo illustration depicts a view of the night sky just before the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Image released May 31, 2012. [Full Photo Gallery]

'Prometheus': Scenes from Ridley Scott's Alien Saga (Pictures)

Twentieth Century Fox

"Prometheus," set in the universe of the "Alien" franchise and directed by Ridley Scott, opens June 8, 2012. [Full Photo Gallery]

The Romance of the Telescope

ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN

The antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope stand against the the Milky Way, in this photo taken on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile's Atacama region. The constellations of Carina (The Keel) and Vela (The Sails) glow in this picture. The Milky Way shines from middle top left to middle bottom right. The bright orange star in the upper left is Suhail in Vela. [More Images]

Talkin' 'Bout the Young Style … Talking ‘Bout the Old Style Too

Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/Coelum

Star cluster M46 is a young celestial object only some hundreds of millions of years old, containing a large population of massive blue stars. M46 lies near the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, and the star cluster is coincidentally joined in this photo by a star in the foreground, NGC 2348, a much older star already at the stage of planetary nebula. [More Images]

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