Best Space Photos of the Week - May 17, 2014

Brilliant Fireball Streaks Over Southeastern US

Marshall Space Flight Center Meteoroid Environment Office

A rare, long-lasting fireball streaked through the skies of the southeastern United States Thursday night (May 15), putting on a show for stargazers lucky enough to see it from the ground.[See the video here.]

Advanced Russian Communications Satellite Lost in Rocket Failure

Airbus Defence and Space

An advanced Russian communications satellite was destroyed Thursday (May 15) when its Proton rocket booster failed minutes after liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. [Read the full story here. ]

Full Moon Blocks Saturn for Stargazers Down Under Wednesday

Victor C. Rogus.

The May full moon will rise on Wednesday (May 14), giving stargazers with clear skies in Australia and New Zealand a special treat: a view of Saturn slipping behind the moon. [Read the full story here. ]

Near Miss: Tiny Asteroid Gives Earth a Close Shave (Photos)

Palomar Transient Factory/Caltech

A small asteroid buzzed Earth Saturday (May 10), coming well within the orbit of the moon. The near-Earth asteroid 2014 JG55 missed our planet by just 60,000 miles (96,560 kilometers), or about one-quarter of the distance between Earth and the moon. [See more photos here. ]

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinks to Smallest Size Ever Seen

NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Jupiter's Great Red Spot — the most powerful storm in the solar system — is at its smallest observed size yet, and scientists aren't sure why. [Read the full story here. ]

Comet-Chasing Rosetta Probe Spies Dusty Veil Around Its Target


Far out in space, near the orbit of Jupiter, a European spacecraft named Rosetta is chasing a comet that has recently developed an ethereal veil. [Read the full story here. ]

Radio Dishes Peer Beneath Moon's Surface (Images)

Bruce Campbell (Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum); Arecibo/NAIC; NRAO/AUI/NSF

Two huge radio telescopes have given scientists a rare look beneath the surface of the moon. Signals beamed from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico — the world's largest radio dish, with a diameter of 1,000 feet (305 meters) — penetrated deep into the moon. [Read the full story here. ]

Touchdown! Space Station Crew Returns to Earth

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Three crewmembers of the International Space Station have returned safely to Earth, ending their six-month orbital mission. [Read the full story here. ]

Watch 2 Neutron Stars Merge and Form Black Hole

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

An amazing new NASA video shows two super-dense neutron stars tearing each other apart in a cataclysmic cosmic merger that ultimately forms a black hole. [See the video here.]

Astronauts Test Asteroid Exploration Tech in Underwater 'Spacewalk'


Two NASA astronauts went underwater last week to test out some spacewalking techniques that could be used to explore a captured asteroid a decade or so from now. [Read the full story here. ]

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