March 22, 2024 | Eul Basa

Incredible Rare Photos Of Outer Space


The secrets of the universe

Since the dawn of man, humans have looked to the skies in search of the meaning of life. While there are still many unknowns, the inspiring work of astronomers and physicists keeps our curiosity alive and opens our minds to all sorts of possibilities. These incredible photos from outer space are examples of how looking beyond our planet can help us better understand our place in the universe.

Space Cover1

An unfathomable vastness

In 2012, the Hubble Space Telescope's eXtreme Deep Field observation was published. It combined 1,000 images taken over a decade, and each speck of light represents a galaxy, so there are as many as 5,500 galaxies in this image alone. The craziest part? This only represents a 30-millionth of the whole sky.

1711074648617NASA, Hubble Site

The first image of a black hole

Scientists from all over the world collaborated on a project called the Event Horizon Telescope and brought forth the first image of a black whole—ever. The image shows the edge of a gargantuan void in the middle of the Messier 87 galaxy, which is 53.49 million light-years away.

1711074578637Event Horizon Telescope

A view of Earth from Saturn

Rarely do we get images of our own planet from another one in our solar system. This image was taken from the Cassini mission, and it shows a view of Earth as it seen from the dark side of Saturn.

1711081521396NASA

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The Curiosity Rover selfie

No human has stepped foot in Mars yet, but we have sent machines to investigate for us. In 2012, the Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet, and during its mission, it took many selfies. Thanks to its work, we now know that Mars was once a place with flowing water (and thus possibly life).

1711082754565NASA

The solar eclipse that unified America

The United States in 2017 was full of tension. Coming hot off a controversial election, the American people were as divided as ever. But there was one event that brought everyone together—in August of that year, 216 million Americans stopped what they were doing to observe the solar eclipse. It was a moment of both unity and awe.

1711085328648NASA

Aurora in the sky

The Northern Lights are beautiful from the ground, but have you ever seen them from above? They're just as beautiful, dancing up in the Earth's atmosphere, but you can see the lights follow the Earth's contour and it's a magnificent sight.

1711123901674NASA Jack Fischer, Expedition 52

A prismatic end

We all know that a supernova is the explosion that occurs when a star dies. But what does it actually look like? One image taken by novice astronomer Yuji Nakamura captured a supernova event in the Cassiopeia constellation. The colors you see represent the X-ray radiation that was released during the explosion.

1711085644506NASA

Scorpio's Lights

Calling all Scorpios—this image showcases a globular cluster known as NGC 6380, and it is part of the Scorpio constellation. Everything you see here is around 35,000 light-years away from Earth.

1711090096671NASA

Colliding galaxies

It's difficult to imagine a galaxy colliding with another galaxy, but this image depicts exactly that happening. The galaxy known as NGC 7714 is seen here being stretched and distorted due to a recent collision with a neighboring galaxy. It's frightening to think that could happen to our precious Milky Way someday.

1711122941929

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The Earth isn't flat—but the galaxy (kind of) is

This is a view of the Spindle galaxy, NGC 5866 from its edge. Just like many other galaxies (including our very own Milky Way), it takes on more of a disk shape because the gas that forms it collides with itself and rotates about the gravitational center.

1711123269215NASA

NGC 6369: The Little Ghost Nebula

The Little Ghost Nebula has been observed since the 18th century, when astronomer Sir William Herschel saw it through his telescope while exploring the Ophiucus constellation. Hundreds of years later, we are still in awe of it, and thanks to better technology we can see it in all its blue-green glory.

1711124202891

Mars' engulfed in dust

Mars is often depicted in Hollywood sci-fi movies as experiencing massive dust storms that can cover the entire planet, and for the most part, that is accurate and true. Here's one example of a planet-wide dust storm taken just months apart in 2001.

1711124454863NASA, J. Bell (ASU), M. Wolff (Space Science Inst.), Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

The Cone Nebula from Hubble

One of the most mind-blowing sights to see in space is a nebula because it indicates that stars are being born. In this image of the Cone Nebula, stars are forming in the massive dust pillar.

1711125744346Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA

Staring at the Sun

We're told not to stare directly at the sun, but through this image we can. This is a 2015 composite image of our sun taken from three different spacecrafts and measuring blue high-energy X-rays (by NASA's NuSTAR telescope), green low-energy X-rays (by Japan's Hinode spacecraft), and red and yellow UV light (by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory).

1711124846653NASA, JAXA

Star Cluster IC 348 from Webb

Some stars are harder to see than others. That's the case here with IC 348, a young star cluster that is surrounded with lots of stringy, pink dust. The dust acts to reflect blue light, which lends the star a bluish hue.

1711126010785NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and K. Luhman (Penn State U.) and C. Alves de Oliveira (ESA)

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A closer look at Pluto

Before it was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, we all knew Pluto as the ninth planet in our solar system; the farthest one from the sun. Here, an infrared image shows a massive glacier on its surface.

1711125105860NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Mickey Mouse Craters

Three craters forming the likeness of Mickey Mouse, Disney's iconic poster child,  is imaged her on Mercury. The craters were identified from NASA's Messenger spacecraft. They are located just northwest to another main crater called Magritte.

1711125385120NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Earth and Moon from another perspective

Alternate views of the Earth and the Moon are always fascinating. Here, we see both in the same frame, taken from a distance beyond the moon. This unusual perspective was taken by the Orion spacecraft in 2022.

1711126465617NASA, Artemis I

The Moon's rocky surface

If you have red/blue glasses, now's the perfect time to put them on—this stereo view of the moon's surface was taken by Eugene Cernan in 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission, just before it was about to land. 

1711126702670NASA, Apollo 17, Gene Cernan

The Cat's Eye Nebula

The Cat's Eye Nebula is the brightest and most detailed nebula that we know of. It consists of a dying star in its center, which is believed to have generated the beautiful concentric "shells" surrounding it.

1711126864093NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Chandra X-ray Obs.

Zeta Oph, The Runaway Star

Imaged here is the Zeta Oph, which is known as the Runaway Star. The the bow wave seen here is a result of the strong stellar wind preceding the star as it moves, which compressess interstellar material in front of it into a shock front.

1711127047841NASA, JPL-Caltech, Spitzer Space Telescope

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Interstellar Shakespeare

The James Webb Telescope released this image of Uranus, offering a detailed portrait of the ice planet and some of its moons. Almost all of its 27 moons, with the exception of two, are named after famous characters in Shakespeare's plays.

1711127499435NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Metamorphasis of a white dwarf

Similar to a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, a white dwarf star initiates its existence by shedding a shell of gas that once surrounded its previous form. Within this cocoon, NGC 2440, a planetary nebula, is one of the most scorching white dwarf stars identified. This luminous white dwarf is visible as a vivid orange point seen in the center.

1711127645122NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing: H. Bond (STScI), R. Ciardullo (PSU), Forrest Hamilton (STScI)

The origin of a comet tail

In 2016, the ESA's Rosetta spacecraft managed to capture a jet emerging from Comet 67P. It's unclear what caused the plume, but given the rocky surface of the comet, it's likely that there was some process occuring deep beneath the surface to create it.

1711128041023ESA, Rosetta, MPS, OSIRIS; UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula is recognized as a remnant of a supernova, representing the dispersing remnants of a colossal star's demise. Astronomers observed the dramatic birth of the Crab in the year 1054 and it contiues to expand today at a rate of 1,500 km per second.

1711128284483NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Jeff Hester (ASU), Allison Loll (ASU), Tea Temim (Princeton University)

The Hourglass Nebula

The rings of this nebula, MyCn 18, form the outline of an hour glass—but the truly bizarre component is the eye in the center, which lends this image an eerie feel. Could it be that we are all just tiny molecules in a bigger organism?

1711128600575NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA;

The Hummingbird Galaxy

This galaxy takes on the shape of a hummingbird. In this image, you can see a grouping of blue stars forming the beak, while the orange spiral is perfectly placed to represent the eye.

1711128901517NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA

Jets forming a star

Shown in this image is Herbig-Haro 211, a young star in the process of formation, recently captured by the Webb Space Telescope (JWST) using infrared light with remarkable precision. Accompanying the pair of slender streams of particles are crimson shockwaves, visible as they collide with surrounding interstellar gas.

1711129159755NASA, ESA, CSA, Webb

Galaxy Cluster Abell 370

The immense galaxy cluster Abell 370 is depicted in this clear snapshot from the Hubble Space Telescope, situated approximately 4 billion light-years distant. Despite the impression of being controlled by two massive elliptical galaxies, the cluster actually harbors a multitude of faint arcs.

1711129851202NASA, ESA, Jennifer Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)

The Ring Nebula from Webb and Hubble

In this digitally-enhanced image, strands of gas resembling eyelashes encircling a cosmic eye become visible around the Ring Nebula, depicted in assigned colors. These extended filaments likely result from the shadowing of dense gas knots within the ring, influenced by energetic light emissions. The Ring Nebula, an elongated planetary nebula, emerges when a Sun-like star sheds its outer atmosphere to transform into a white dwarf star.

1711130146687NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST,

The Sombrero Galaxy

The visually-striking Sombrero Galaxy ranks among the largest galaxies within the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. Contrary to its appearance in optical light where a dark band of dust obscures its mid-section, this very band illuminates brightly when observed in infrared light.

1711130343107R. Kennicutt (Steward Obs.) et al., SSC, JPL, Caltech, NASA

Supernova ribbon

In 1006 AD, light from a supernova in Lupus created a brilliant "guest star" lasting over two years, brighter than Venus. Now cataloged as SN 1006, the explosion occurred 7,000 light-years away, leaving a vast, fading remnant still expanding as we speak.

1711130479727NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)

A stroll on the moon

Fifty-four years ago, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first lunar walker, captured this image. It depicts the mission's lunar module, the Eagle, with spacesuited lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin unfurling the Solar Wind Composition Experiment, which involves a long sheet of foil.

1711130680597Apollo 11, NASA

Stars and jets

In this image, young, actively forming stars are illuminated in infrared. Known as HH (Herbig-Haro) 46/47, these stars reside within an opaque dark nebula and produce high-speed molecular gas outflows.

1711130867087NASA, ESA, CSA

The Eagle Nebula

Within the Eagle Nebula reside three dense columns of dust and gas, where stars are currently being forged, recognized as the Pillars of Creation. Despite their towering height of 5 light-years, these pillars have been sculpted by stellar winds from young, scorching stars and are approaching the conclusion of their star formation era.

1711131061756NASA/CXC/SAO, XMM: ESA/XMM-Newton; IR: JWST: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI, Spitzer: NASA/JPL/CalTech; Visible: Hubble: NASA/ESA/STScI, ESO

Rho Ophiuchi by Webb

390 light-years away, Sun-like stars and forthcoming planetary systems take shape within the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud complex, the nearest star-forming area to Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope's NIRCam offers a glimpse into this nearby celestial frenzy with this infrared image.

1711131281941NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Sunspots in all their glory

Our Sun is expected to near its solar maximum in 2025, so we are anticipating increased solar activity these new few years. However, surprisingly, last year we witnessed a surge in sunspot activity surpassing any seen in the entire prior 11-year solar cycle, dating back to 2002.

1711131433218NASA, SDO

Eta Carinae: A doomed star

Eta Carinae, the star pictured here, could be on the brink of a cataclysmic explosion, yet the timing remains uncertain. Whether it occurs imminently or eons from now is unclear. With a mass approximately 100 times that of our Sun, Eta Carinae stands as a prime candidate for a powerful supernova event.

1711131620887NASA, ESA, Hubble

The Stickney Crater

Named after Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, mathematician and wife of astronomer Asaph Hall, Stickney Crater is the largest on Phobos, one of Mars' moons. Discovered by Hall in 1877, Stickney spans over 9 kilometers, nearly half Phobos' diameter, suggesting the impact nearly shattered the moon.

1711131806889HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA


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