Amazing Space Photos

The coolest-looking space stuff this side of the Milky Way including new photos from the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope.

82 photos
Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon.
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Pluto’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. This image was generated by software that combines information from blue, red and near-infrared images.
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin plant the U.S. flag on the moon on July 20, 1969. The two American astronauts were the first people to land on the moon. Armstrong radioed back to Earth that the historic event indicated "one giant leap for mankind." Click to see more amazing photos of outer space.
The moon, annotated by NASA with a white arrow, is shown below Saturn's rings. The photo only shows one out of 33 images of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013.
The pillar-like structure in the photo are actually images of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust. Red shows emission from sulfur atoms, green from hydrogen and blue from oxygen, according to NASA. The photo was taken on April 1, 1995.
The color composite image released on April 7, 2005 by NASA, shows star formation tracings in a nearby galaxy. Young hot blue stars are on the outer spiral arms while older, yellow-green stars gather in the center.
The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 on April 20, 2011. The large spiral galaxy has a distorted rose-like shape made by a gravitational pull from its companion galaxy below.
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The undated image shows thin, disrupted, ice crusts on the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.
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A active volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon, Io, was captured on Feb. 22, 2000 by NASA.
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The Spitzer Space Telescope infrared image of Whirlpool Galaxy shows strange structure bridge gaps between dust-rich spiral arms.
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Apollo 8 astronauts took a photo of the Earth rising behind the Moon. The unnamed surface features in the foreground are near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from Earth.
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Gemini 4 astronaut, Ed White, made the first spacewalk by an American on December 3, 1965. He spent more than 20 minutes outside his spacecraft with an "umbilical cord" connecting him to the capsule that supplied oxygen for him. The Gemini 4 completed 62 Earth orbits.
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American astronaut, Lieutenant Colonel James B Irwin, salutes the Stars and Stripes at Hadley Base on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission.
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The Galileo space probe took a photo of five of Jupter's moons flying by on March 16, 2001. This "family portrait," includes the edge of Jupiter with its Great Red Spot and Jupiter's four largest moons, known as the Galilean satellites.
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In this NASA image, a dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer. In death, the star's dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. This object called the Helix nebula, lies 650 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius. Click to see more amazing space photos.
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This undated handout artist illustration provided by NASA shows a cosmic supermom. It's a galaxy that gives birth to more stars in a day than ours does in a year. Astronomers used NASA's X-Ray telescope to spot this distant galaxy creating about 740 new stars a year. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy spawns just about one new star each year. This new galaxy is about 5.7 billion light years away. It is in the center of a recently discovered cluster of galaxies that give the brightest x-ray glow astronomers have seen.
This image shows the Andromeda galaxy, made by the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers are looking for thousands of volunteers to scan computerized images of a neighboring galaxy in a survey that could explain how stars are continually being formed across the universe. The survey is exploring the Milky Way's nearest big neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, about 2.5 million light-years away.
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This image shows an unexpected spiral structure in the material around the old star R Sculptoris. This feature has never been seen before and is probably caused by a hidden companion star orbiting the star. This slice through new ALMA data reveals the shell around the star, which shows up as the outer circular ring, as well as a very clear spiral structure in the inner material.
This image shows previously unseen early galaxies, including the oldest one at 13.3 billion years old.
Since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April 1990, thousands of pictures have been sent back to Earth from space. The Tarantula nebula, seen here, is just one of the many photos of our galaxy that Hubble has sent back.
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This image provided by NASA shows the Gale Crater Martian landing site for the Curiosity Mars rover. The Gale Crater is approximately the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This image shows a high-resolution 360-degree color panorama of Gale Crater taken by the Curiosity rover on Mars. Curiosity is currently on a two-year mission to study whether the Gale Crater could support microbial life.
On August 8, 2012 the U.S. landed on Mars! In this photo, you can see the Curiosity rover's wheel touching down on the Martian surface.
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This image released on Aug. 8, 2012 by NASA, shows a mosaic of the first two full-resolution images of the Martian surface from the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground.
What's your sign? If you're a Scorpio, you're looking at it! Seen here is cosmic dust surrounding the head of the constellation Scorpius.
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Earth has amazing some of space's most amazing landscapes. Here is a photo of trees covered in snow and ice in Finland's Lapland during the 2012 winter.
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In June 2012, Venus began it's transit across the sun. Look at the solar flares in the background, as the planet begins to transverse the sun.
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Apollo 17 landed on the moon in December 1972. Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt were on the moon for approximately 75 hours during their mission.
Check out these solar panels on the Opportunity rover on Mars. The rover spent four months stationary, overlooking Mars' Greeley Haven, so that it could absorb sunlight and take pictures of the area.
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The Orion nebula is the closest large star-forming region in the sky. Seen above from the Hubble Space Telescope, we can see the nebula and the young stars forming within it.
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The rainbow of stars seen above Monument Valley in the United States is actually the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way can be seen in Monument Valley almost every night that the sky is clear.
Ever wonder how a star is born? This photo shows stars forming in the 30 Doradus region of the sky. The stars seen here are some of the largest, hottest and most massive stars in the sky.
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The Rosette nebula, seen above, gets its flowery shape from cosmic dust and gas being blown around by cosmic wind. The Rosette nebula can be seen from Earth using a telescope pointed at the Unicorn constellation.
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Io, one of Jupiter's moons, is captured from the Cassini spacecraft as it glides over Jupiter's gaseous surface.
Saturn has 62 moons, and possibly more that have yet to be discovered.
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This photo, provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, was taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope and shows a clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet and reveals an assortment of stars across a wide color range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars.
This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows a celestial object that looks like a delicate butterfly.
This photo was taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope and shows a panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster, Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri.
This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217.
This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows the planet Jupiter.
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This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, was taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope and shows Gravitational Lensing in Galaxy Cluster Abell 370.
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This image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope on July 23 shows a galaxy, called NGC-1097, which is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The "eye" at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars.
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This image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on July 23 shows the impact feature (dark spot) and "backsplash" of material from a small object that plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated. The only other time in history such a feature has been seen on Jupiter was in 1994 during the collision of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
The longest solar eclipse of the 21st century is seen in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, at 9:16 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22. Hundreds of millions of people across China, India and Japan witnessed the event.
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Crewmembers onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis enroute to the Hubble Space Telescope downlinked this image May 12. Saudi Arabia is in the foreground and Egypt's Nile River and its delta can be seen (left) toward the horizon. Israel and Jordan can be seen near the top edge of the frame.
A colorful Cartwheel galaxy is pictured in this composite image. Approximately 100 million years ago, a smaller galaxy plunged through the heart of Cartwheel galaxy, creating ripples of brief star formation. Cartwheel is one of the most powerful UV-emitting galaxies in the nearby universe.
The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed this prominence, relatively cool clouds of gas suspended above the sun and controlled by magnetic forces, in Sept. 2008.
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Stars can be seen above Lake Salda in southwestern Turkey. the stars of Orion lie just ahead, while Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, appears to Orion's left. To Orion's right, just above the horizon, lies the Pleiades's open star cluster. Lake Salda is famous partly for its blue color that is slightly discernible even in the above image.
The massive star a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright blue one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive star evolution.
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Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is likely similar to our own spiral galaxy, but viewed edge-on from far away. Also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile, NGC 4565 is a stop on many telescopic tours of the northern sky as it lies in the faint but well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. This image reveals the galaxy's bulging central core dominated by light from a population of older, yellowish stars.
A small, dense object only 12 miles in diameter is responsible for this beautiful X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years. At the center of this image made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58, or B1509 for short. The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured the northern polar region of Saturn and shows both the aurora and underlying atmosphere, seen at two different wavelengths of infrared light.
A dust ring, seen in red, surrounds the star Fomalhaut that resides at the center of the image, but is not visible to the human eye. The Hubble Telescope discovered the fuzzy image of the planet, known as Fomalhaut b, which is no more that a white speck in the lower right portion of the dust ring that surrounds the star.
This artist concept shows a mirror-smooth lake on the surface of the smoggy Saturn moon Titan. Cassini scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, and have positively identified ethane. This result makes Titan the only place in our solar system beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface.
This undated handout photo provided by NASA, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147.
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Tethys sits within Saturn's shadow, but not in complete darkness. While in eclipse the moon is illuminated by feeble ringshine reflected from the planet's night side and by sunlight scattered through the rings.
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This picture of Saturn and its rings was taken from approximately 1,247,086 kilometers away.
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With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before. This panoramic shot was taken over a period of three hours.
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This Hubble Telescope snapshot unveils a pair of one-half, light-year-long interstellar "twisters" -- eerie funnels and twisted-rope structures -- in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula (M8) which lies 5,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
The alluring Cat's Eye Nebula lies 3,000 light-years from Earth. It represents a brief, yet glorious, phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team
On its 100,000th orbit of planet Earth, the Hubble Space Telescope peered into a small portion of the Tarantula Nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074, unveiling its stellar nursery. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, triggered perhaps by a nearby supernova.
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals the center of the magnificent barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512 in all wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared. The colors, which indicate differences in light intensity, map where newly born star clusters exist in both 'dusty' and 'clean' regions of the galaxy.
To create this enhanced-color view, ultraviolet, green and infrared images were combined into a single black and white picture that isolates and maps regional color differences on Saturn's icy moon Dione.
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This image of spiral galaxy Messier 101 is the visible light view from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Centaurus A is a supermassive black hole.
Galaxy NGC 1569 is forming stars at a rate more than 100 times higher than in the Milky Way.
Galaxies don't normally look like this. That's because this image of NGC 3256 shows two galaxies that are slowly colliding. Quite possibly, in hundreds of millions of years, only one galaxy will remain.
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The Red Planet is home to Valles Marineris, the solar system's largest canyon.
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This highly oblique image of northwestern African captures the curvature of the Earth and shows its atmosphere.
As the name implies, the Witch Head Nebula associated with the star Rigel looks suspiciously like a fairytale crone. The nebula glows primarily by light reflected from Orion, its nearest star.
The most crowded collision of galaxy clusters has been identified by combining information from three different telescopes.
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This system of galaxies resides at about 400 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.
This image of the Antennae galaxies is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed.
One of a series, this image of Saturn was taken when the planet's rings were at their maximum tilt of 27 degrees toward Earth.
This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a very thin section of a supernova remnant caused by a stellar explosion that occurred more than 1,000 years ago.
At the center of spiral galaxy M81 is a supermassive black hole about 70 million times more massive than our sun.
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Mars' larger moon, Phobos, is a cratered, asteroid-like object.
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On April 25, 2008, NASA's Swift satellite picked up this record-setting flare from a star known as EV Lacertae.
The unique planetary nebula NGC 2818 is nested inside the open star cluster NGC 2818A. Both the cluster and the nebula reside over 10,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Pyxis (the Compass).
Hurricane Ike covered more than half of Cuba in this image, taken by the Expedition 17 crew aboard the International Space Station from a vantage point of 220 statute miles above Earth.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this stunning true-color picture of the giant galactic nebula NGC 3603 on March 5, 1999.
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A violent and chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a nearby supernova remnant, the remains of a massive star that exploded.
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