We’ve collected some of the most incredible views, to show you just how breath-taking space can be.
Just be prepared to feel a little insignificant.
The Pillars of Creation
This image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a vision of the Eagle Nebula – a cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens. This view is unbelievably over 6,500 light years from Earth and shows a number of star-forming gas and dust regions stretching off into pillar-like formations.
This nebula was originally discovered by Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 but is perhaps most well-known thanks to this image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The bubble nebula
The Bubble Nebula is located 8,000 light-years away from Earth and was originally discovered by German-born British astronomer Frederick William Herschel in 1787. The bubble is actually the result of winds from a nearby star and it is the heat from the star that causes it to glow.
Antennae Galaxies reloaded
The Antennae Galaxies have been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope several times over the last few decades. This image is the most recent and the most impressive. The galaxies shown in this image are locked in a constant battle – clashing with each other for several hundred million years.
This space battle is so violent that stars have been ripped from both galaxies and form a streaming arc which bridges the two. Signs of this cosmic chaos can be seen in the various colours surrounding the galaxies.
The Horsehead Nebula
This image shows part of the constellation of Orion. It was captured during the Hubble Space Telescope’s 23rd year in use. The magnificent view shows incredible waves of dust and gas creating what looks like a giant space seahorse.
Hubble mosaic of the majestic Sombrero Galaxy
The Sombrero Galaxy is thought to be one of the universe’s most beautiful and photogenic galaxies. It’s also named due to its likeness to the famous Mexican hat.
A brilliant and brightly lit galaxy with a bulbous coresurrounded by masses of gas. The galaxy is so bright it can be easily seen through small telescopes from Earth but is just beyond the limit of the naked eye.
Most detailed image of the Crab Nebula
This incredible image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows one of the most detailed views of the Crab Nebula ever seen. The image is actually stitched together from 24 individual images captured by the telescope and we think you’ll agree, the results are spectacular.
The Lagoon Nebula
At an incredible 55 light-years wide and 20 light-years tall, the Lagoon Nebula is as impressive as it is beautiful. This Nebula is 4,000 light-years away from Earth and was originally discovered in 1654. Since then, it has been photographed and analysed by astronomers all over the world.
The Orion Nebula
This brilliantly colourful view of the Orion Nebula shows a section of the Nebula where thousands of stars are forming. Incredibly, over 3,000 stars of differing sizes appear in the region captured by this single image. The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years from Earth and is the closest star-forming region to our planet. Like other photos on this list, this image is actually made up from 520 different photos captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Cosmic dust bunnies
This image shows dust lanes and star clusters of this giant galaxy. These so-called dust bunnies are thought to be evidence that this mass is actually the result of the merging to two separate galaxies.
This incredible image looks more like fantasy than reality, but the brilliantly colourful view speaks of friction and cosmic chaos. A spiralling pillar of gas and dust can be seen being engulfed by the brilliant light of nearby stars.
This view is of a stellar nursery known as the Carina Nebula which is a mere 7,500 light-years away from Earth. Radiation and cosmic winds from nearby new-born stars are what cause the pillar-like formations that can be seen here. Jets of gas, swirls and wisps of dust and more can be seen as new stars are born and grow.
The colours are caused by the glow of the different gases – with oxygen in blue, hydrogen and nitrogen in green and sulphur in red. An astounding view, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Star birth in the extreme
This incredible view of the Carina Nebula shows an amazing inferno and area of activity where new stars are being born. Scorching ultraviolet radiation and outflowing winds from stars within this area of space create the colourful cosmic painting before your eyes. Again, these colours represent the different gases flowing within the regions – sulfur, hydrogen and oxygen swirling wonderfully as nature creates new cosmic life.
The Ring Nebula
From our perspective on Earth, Messier 57 (also known as “The Ring Nebula”) has an elliptical shape with a rough, shaggy edge. The Hubble Space Telescope shows a slightly different view though – one likened more to a distorted doughnut. This view is formed by gases being expelled from a giant red star that’s in the process of evolving into a white dwarf.
Who knew space dust could be so astounding? This image of Centaurus A was taken with Hubble’s most advanced instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3. It shows incredible never-before-seen detail of the dusty parts of the galaxy.
Centaurus A is one of the closest radio galaxies to Earth giving off luminous radio emissions thanks to electromagnetic radiation in the region. These radio emissions make the areas easier to observe and study. The centre of Centaurus A contains a supermassive black hole which emits X-ray and radio wavelengths from the area.
It is thought that Centaurus A was once a large elliptical galaxy that collided with a smaller galaxy in the region and merged to create the view we see now.
The Veil Nebula
This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a small area of the Veil Nebula, also known as the Witch’s Broom Nebula. This view shows heated and ionized gas and cosmic dust of the region. It is also the aftermath of a supernova that exploded in the region somewhere between 3,000 to 6,000 BC.
The Carina Nebula
Yet another image of the Carina Nebula shows the beauty of the gas and dust pillar in the region. This pillar is an astounding three light-years-long and can be seen bathed in the glowing light of massive nearby stars.
A galactic crash
This image shows a scattered and warped region of space – the result of a clash between two galaxies. Powerful cosmic forces carve out the shapes now seen here in a galaxy known simply as NGC 4490.
Globular cluster 47 Tucanae
47 Tucanae is, after Omega Centauri, the brightest globular cluster in the night sky. As you can see from this image 47 Tucanae hosts tens of thousands of stars.
Scientists examining the area have noted how dying white dwarf stars have migrated from the central region to the very outskirts. A process that was known to happen, but had not seen before in great detail until the study of this area began in earnest.
The whirling disc of NGC 4526
This beautiful view of galaxy NGC 4526 seems to show a peaceful galaxy glowing brilliantly in the depths of space. This serene view shows a galaxy that has hosted two known supernova explosions in the last few decades alone. It also has a supermassive black hole at its core with an incredible mass of 450 million Suns.
A rapidly rotating disc of gas spectacularly reaches out from the galaxy’s heart and spans seven per cent of its entire radius. This disc spins at a staggering 250,000 metres per second. As remarkable as it is beautiful.
Crab on LCD
The Crab Nebula shown in bright and beautiful neon colours. This fantastic image was created by combining data from different telescopes capturing the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to X-rays. This Nebula is sited 6,500 light-years from Earth and is the result of a supernova explosion observed by astronomers in 1054.
At the centre of the Crab Nebula sits a super-dense neutron star, known as a pulsar. This pulsar spins once every 33 milliseconds and as it spins it shoots out beams of radio waves and incredible visible light shows. Fast-moving winds from the pulsar fly off energising gas and dust in the nearby area.
Auroras on Jupiter
This stunning view shows incredible light shows happening in Jupiter’s atmosphere. These auroras are the result of high-energy particles entering planet’s atmosphere. These particles then collide with atoms of gas and create a visible reaction which has also been observed by NASA’s Juno Spacecraft.
This article represents a slim sample of the many images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and the wonder of the vast space that surrounds our planet.