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Best Space Photos of the Week - July 11, 2014

Flaming Rocket Debris Over Australia

Kristian Hardland

The fireball that lit up skies over Australia Thursday night (July 10) was actually part of a Russian rocket falling back to Earth, according to media reports. [See the video here.]

Comet-Chasing European Probe Photographs Its Lumpy, Icy Target

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A European probe is starting to get some good looks at the comet with which it will rendezvous next month. [Read the full story here.]

Hubble Telescope Spies Gorgeous Galactic 'String of Pearls'

NASA/ESA

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a strange celestial "string of pearls" wrapped around the hearts of two merging elliptical galaxies. [Read the full story here.]

Found! Most Distant Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy

isualization Software: Uniview by SCISS Data: SOHO (ESA & NASA), John Bochanski (Haverford College) and Jackie Faherty (American Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Institute's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism)

Astronomers have discovered the farthest-flung stars yet known in the Milky Way. The two objects — known as ULAS J0744+25 and ULAS J0015+01 — are about 775,000 and 900,000 light-years from Earth, respectively, making them both about five times more distant than a satellite galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. [Read the full story here.]

Russia's Next-Generation Angara Rocket Aces 1st Test Launch

Russian Ministry of Defense

The Angara rocket — which Russia has been developing for more than 20 years — blasted off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia Wednesday (July 9) at 4:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. EDT; 1200 GMT), carrying a dummy payload on its maiden flight. [Read the full story here.]

Astronauts See Typhoon Neoguri's Power from Space

NASA/ESA

Astronauts in space had a front-row seat this week to watch the Typhoon Neoguri transform into a powerful a super typhoon that dominated the Pacific Ocean, then downgrade back into a typical typhoon. [Read the full story here.]

Red and Dead Future for a Galaxy Running Out of Star Fuel

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

A galaxy more than 12 billion light years from Earth is heading for a “red and dead” future because it is running out of the fuel needed to make new stars. [Read the full story here.]

Big Dipper Hotspot May Help Solve 100-Year-Old Cosmic Ray Mystery

K. Kawata, University of Tokyo Institute for Cosmic Ray Research.

A hotspot of powerful, ultrahigh-energy particles streams toward Earth from beneath the handle of the Big Dipper constellation. [Read the full story here.]

Comet Makes Spectacular Galactic Flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech

A NASA probe recently spotted the dazzling Pan-STARRS comet as it hurtled through space against the backdrop of a distant galaxy. [Read the full story here.]

Saturn's Rings, Hexagon on Display in Amazing Photo

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A NASA probe exploring Saturn and its many moons has captured an incredible photo of the planet's swirling north polar vortex and distinctive rings. [See the photo here.]

How Wheel Damage Affects Mars Rover Curiosity's Mission

NASAJPL-Caltech/MSSS

If there were mechanics on Mars, NASA may have taken the Curiosity rover into the shop by now. [Read the full story here.]

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Kim Hickock as our Reference Editor and Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.