Best Space Pictures of the Week - Dec. 23, 2012

Chinese Spacecraft Flies by Asteroid Toutatis

Boyle (SASTIND via Weibo / UMSF)

The second Chinese moon probe, Chang'e-2, made a flyby of asteroid Toutatis, capturing close photos of the space rock. [Full Story]

Backlit Saturn Shines in Stunning New Photo

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has snapped a gorgeous backlit shot of Saturn that is a holiday treat for researchers and the public alike. [Full Story]

Potentially Habitable Planet Detected Around Nearby Star

J. Pinfield for the RoPACS network at the University of Hertfordshire, 2012.

Astronomers have discovered five planets orbiting a sun-like star just 12 light-years from Earth, including one that may be habitable to life as we know it. [Full Story]

Hubble Nebula Photo Reveals Cosmic Christmas Ornament

NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Hubble’s Christmas offering is a photo of a planetary nebula that looks like a ribbon. [Full Story]

Eclipse Chaser: A Firsthand Account of a Total Solar Eclipse

A first-hand account of what it’s like to watch a solar eclipse. [Full Story]

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Passes Key Flight Test

Luke Colby/Virgin Galactic

The Virgin Galactic suborbital SpaceShipTwo has completed a key flight test at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. [Full Story]

Moonlight Shines Over Swedish Winter Wonderland (Photo)

P-M Heden/clearskies.se

A snowy Swedish wonderland is illuminated in this night sky photo. [Full Story]

3 New Crewmembers to Arrive at Space Station Friday

NASA

Three new crewmembers will dock with the ISS on Friday morning. [Full Story]

New NASA Spacesuit Looks like Buzz Lightyear's

NASA

NASA has unveiled new prototype spacesuits that resemble what Buzz Lightyear wears. [Full Story]

Some Ancient Star Clusters Look Surprisingly Young

F.Ferraro (University of Bologna), NASA, ESA

Some stars in certain globular clusters seem to age faster than others. Although all of the stars are old, some of them look young.[Full Story]

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