Best Space Photos of the Week - April 12, 2014

Celestial Diamond Ring Sparkles in Stunning Telescope Views

ESO

Scientists have captured an amazing picture of a planetary nebula 1,500 light-years from Earth using a powerful telescope in Chile. The nebula looks like a cosmic diamond ring. [See the video.]

Rocket Launch Photos: Europe's 1st Earth-Watching Sentinel Satellite Blasts Off

ESA/S. Corvaja

Sentinel-1 will provide all-weather, day-or-night radar images for numerous operational services, such as emergency responses, marine and land monitoring, civil security and climate studies. Image released April 3, 2014. [See more photos.]

NASA Astronaut Beams First Instagram Photo from Space

International Space Station (via Instagram at http://instagram.com/iss)

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson recently made a giant leap into the social media world, sending back the first Instagram photo from the International Space Station. [Read the story.]

ISRO

A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle launched India's second navigation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on April 4, 2014. [See more photos.]

Strange 'Mars Light' Continues Streak of Red Planet Illusions

NASA/JPL-Caltech

New photos snapped by NASA's Curiosity rover have gotten the Internet buzzing yet again about the possibility of life on Mars. [Read the story.]

Galaxy Cluster Doubles as Cosmic Magnifying Glass for Hubble Telescope

ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a galaxy cluster so huge that it acts like a magnifying glass, warping and amplifying light from galaxies much farther away. [Read the story.]

Hard-to-Kill Star Survives Nearby Supernova Explosion

X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al; Optical: NOAO/CTIO/MCELS, DSS

A lucky star somehow survived the explosive death of its stellar companion, new images show. [Read the story.]

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Packed with Big Science for Space Station (Infographic)

Art: Anita Rahman, Text: Jennifer Lawinski, Social

When the private spaceflight company SpaceX launches its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, the flight's robotic Dragon spacecraft will be packed with 5,000 lbs. of vital supplies, including some intriguing technology and science experiments. [Read the story.]

'Guardians of the Galaxy' Clip Shows Quick New Looks at Marvel's Space Team

Marvel Studios

Is this the official start of the Guardians of the Galaxy media blitz, a full four months before the movie hits theaters? It could be, now that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters (and a hit), it makes sense that we'll see Marvel Studios looking to the future and their next big thing (as the comic book side of the company loves to say). [Read the story.]

'Blood Moons' Explained: What Causes a Lunar Eclipse Tetrad? (Infographic)

By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

The word "eclipse" means to obscure. When the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, it's called a solar eclipse. When the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, it is a lunar eclipse. [Read the story.]

Kansas Grass Fires Seen from Space

NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

A new satellite image shows grass fires scattered like seeds across the Kansas prairie. And in fact, these fires are a bit like seeds, in that they are a crucial part of the prairie ecosystem. [Read the story.]

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