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Best Space Photos of the Week - April 27, 2013

Surprising Lunar Eclipse Wows Skywatchers (Photos)

Azem Ramadani / azemramadani.com / www.flickr.com/photos/azem/

The moon toe-dipped through the Earth's shadow in a partial lunar eclipse Thursday (April 25), but stargazers around the world still captured surprisingly spectacular views of what they expected to be a minor celestial event. [Full Story and Complete Photo Gallery]

New Private Rocket Launches Into Orbit On Maiden Voyage

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A private Antares rocket built by Virginia’s Orbital Sciences Corp. is expected to launch into the afternoon sky at 5 p.m. ET today (April 17) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. It is the first test flight of the Antares rocket. [Full Story]

Impossible Night Skies: Artist Imagines Starscapes Over City Skylines

Thierry Cohen and Danziger Gallery

It's a common refrain among city dwellers: "The sky is so washed out. I don't think I remember what the stars look like." But an exhibition the Danzinger Gallery called "Darkened Cities" could help some New Yorkers see what a darkened sky could look like in their own backyard. [Full Story]

SpaceX's Grasshopper, the Amazing Reusable Rocket (Photos)

SpaceX

SpaceX's Grasshopper 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle reached new heights on April 19, 2013. [ See the full gallery]

Hubble Telescope Photographs Potential 'Comet of the Century'

NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team

NASA's iconic Hubble Space Telescope has snapped stunning new photos of Comet ISON, which could become one of the brightest comets ever seen when it zips through the inner solar system this fall. [Full Story]

Hubble Spies Cosmic Halos Around Starburst Galaxies

ESA, NASA, L. Calçada

Large bursts of star-forming activity in galaxies affects more than just the host galaxies that produce them. Their force can be felt radiating throughout the universe according to new research from the European Space Agency and Hubble. [Full Story]

Sun Fires Off 3 Solar Eruptions Toward Mercury

ESA&NASA/SOHO

The sun has unleashed a trio of solar eruptions toward the planet Mercury in recent days, solar storms that may pass one NASA spacecraft while dealing a glancing blow to another, NASA officials say. [Full Story]

Eco-Friendly Galaxy Wastes Nothing to Build Stars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/IRAM

Scientists have found what may be the most environmentally friendly galaxy ever seen, a galactic star factory that operates with a nearly 100-percent efficiency rate. [Full Story]

Soul on Fire: Stargazer Snaps Amazing Nebula Photo

Bob Andersson

The Soul Nebula, or IC 1848, is a large star-forming region located about 6,500 light-years away. This emission nebula spans 100 light-years in the constellation Cassiopeia and is often pictured next to its neighbor, the Heart nebula. Astrophotographer Bob Andersson captured this image from the Cotswolds, United Kingdom, in September 2012. [Full Story]

Saturn's Rings Bombarded by Space Rocks

NASA/Cornell

Dusty clouds in Saturn’s rings seen by the Cassini spacecraft were actually caused by the breakup of a small piece of comet or asteroid that impacted the planet’s distinctive rings. [Full Story]

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