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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