Best Space Pictures of the Week - June 23, 2012

Between Night and Day

ESA/NASA

Astronaut Andre Kuipers took this image of solar panels glinting in space. He wrote, "For days we've been flying along the border between night and day. Beautiful." The image was taken June 8, 2012. Screensaver Image]

Surprise! Big Asteroid That Flew By Earth Larger Than Thought

USRA

A massive asteroid that zipped by Earth a week ago is actually twice as large as scientists originally thought, according to astronomers who studied the behemoth space rock as it flew past, well beyond the orbit of the moon. [Full Story

Mercury Craters Look Like Mickey Mouse in NASA Photo

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washingto

A NASA spacecraft has captured a spectacular photo of Mercury craters arranged in a shape that looks just like Disney's iconic cartoon mouse. [Full Story

Solar Flares Fire Double Sun Storm at Earth

NASA/SDO

An active sunspot is amping up the sun's activity, and has already unleashed two strong solar flares that triggered weekend geomagnetic storms on Earth, NASA officials say. [Full Story

Amazing 'War and Peace' Nebula Picture Worth 1,000 Words

ESO

ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has taken the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of the stellar nursery called the War and Peace Nebula (NGC 6357). [Full Story

Launch Photos: Secret US Spy Satellite NROL-38 Blasts Off

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the classified NROL-38 spy satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 20, 2012. Liftoff occurred at 8:28 a.m. EDT. The national security satellite will be used by the National Reconnaissance Office. [Full Launch Photo Gallery]

Shenzhou 9: China's 1st Manned Space Docking Mission (Pictures)

China Manned Space Engineering Office

A Chinese Long March 2F rocket launches on the Shenzhou 9 mission, China's first manned space docking flight and first flight of a female astronaut, on June 16, 2012 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. [Full Launch Photo Gallery]

Huge Moon Crater's Water Ice Supply Revealed

NASA/GSFC/SVS

The moon, once thought to be bone dry, has now been shown to harbor significant water. These photos show the search for water on the moon. [Full Story

NASA Spacecraft Spies 'Alien' Prominence on the Sun

NASA/SDO

Footage from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a solar prominence that one public outreach officer labeled "Alien Prometheus Prominence" because of its resemblance to the extraterrestrials from director Ridley Scott's sci-fi blockbuster. [Full Story

Space Shuttle Enterprise Encased in Inflatable Shelter at NYC Museum

Intrepid/Earthcam

Two weeks after "landing" on top of the aircraft carrier-turned-Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, NASA's prototype space shuttle Enterprise is now underneath the inflatable canopy that will house its public display.[Full Story

Northern Lights Dance Across Sweden Night Sky in Amazing Video

Chad Blakley

Aurora photographer Chad Blakley created a movie called "Lights over Lapland," that compiles thousands of still images of the Northern Lights as seen from Abisko National Park in Sweden. [Full Story

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