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The week in pictures: May 12–18, 2012

In the past seven days, IBEX data revealed that the long-theorized bow shock of our solar system's heliosphere doesn't exist, scientists made a key step in distinguishing between brown dwarf stars and giant planets, the Herschel Space Observatory discovered a giant galaxy-packed filament ablaze with billions of new stars, and more.
Gemini Observatory/AURA

Celestial tapestry is born of uncertain parentage

New observations show that the nature of a dimmer, bluer star might provide a better fit for Sharpless 2–71’s “birth parent” than the planetary nebula’s long-assumed central star. Learn more »

"The week in pictures" highlights the amazing discoveries and cutting-edge research that resulted in magnificent photos and illustrations in the past week's Astronomy.com News section. Scroll through the photos, comment on your favorites, and click links to learn more about the science behind the pictures. We hope "The week in pictures” will not only highlight all our beautiful universe has to offer but also summarize the important stories of the past seven days in case you missed anything.

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