Best Space Photos of the Week – Dec.. 12, 2015

Success! Japanese Spacecraft Arrives at Venus 5 Years After 1st Try

JAXA

Japan's Akatsuki spacecraft has arrived in orbit around Venus, five years after an engine failure scuttled its first attempt, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) officials announced today (Dec. 9). [Read the full story.]

Japan at Venus: Photos from the Akatsuki Spacecraft's Mission

JAXA.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency's Akatsuki spacecraft arrived in orbit around the planet Venus in December 2015, five years after missing the planet on its first try. [See photos from JAXA's Akatsuki mission here.]

Mystery Solved? Ceres' Bright Spots Likely Made of Salt

NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres may be composed of the same basic stuff that makes a foot bath feel so good, a new study reports. [Read the full story.]

Mysterious Galactic Crash Remnants Glow In New Views (Video)

ESO

The aftermath of an old galactic collision, which formed a very unusual dwarf galaxy, shines brightly in new images from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. [Read the full story.]

Orbital ATK's Private Cygnus Supply Ship Arrives at Space Station

NASA TV

An unmanned Orbital ATK cargo ship filled with tons of vital supplies for the International Space Station arrived at the orbiting lab early Wednesday (Dec. 9) where it was captured by a robotic arm weilded by the station's astronaut crew. [Read the full story.]

RIP Comet ISON: Scientists Declare Famous 'Sungrazer' Dead After Sun Encounter

ESA/NASA/SOHO/Jhelioviewer

Comet ISON broke apart during its highly anticipated solar flyby on Nov. 28, emerging from behind the sun as a diffuse cloud of dust that has since all but dissipated in the darkness of deep space, scientists say. [Read the full story.]

Meet Tayna, the Faintest Ancient Galaxy Ever Found

NASA, ESA, and L. Infante (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)

A newly discovered early galaxy is the faintest ever found, and it's giving researchers a rare look into how ancient galaxies evolved. [Read the full story.]

Mars on Earth: Canadian Arctic Serves as Red Planet Training Ground

NASA HMP

Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth, is home to the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), an international, multidisciplinary field-research venture that aims to help lay the foundation for crewed missions to the Red Planet. [Read the full story.]

Alien-Hunting SETI Telescopes Boogie in Spectacular 'Dishdance' Video

Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic

A stunning new time-lapse video shows off the tireless movement of radio astronomy facilities used to search for aliens across the universe. [Read the full story.]

In Alien Solar Systems, Twin Planets Could Share Life

David Aguilar, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Alien planets that are close neighbors to each other around the same parent star could help each other support life, creating what scientists are now calling "multihabitable systems."[Read the full story.]

Comet Catalina in Pictures: Stargazer Views of Comet C/2013 US10

Greg Hogan

Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) was discovered on Oct. 31, 2013 by the Catalina Sky Survey. It reached perihelion on Nov. 15, 2015 and is currently visible in telescope views from Earth. [See photos of the comet from stargazers here.]

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