15 Mind-Blowing Pictures Of Space

It's a great big, beautiful universe out there.

The Smiling Lens

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is", so said the great author and genius, Douglas Adams.

But as well as big, space is also mind-bogglingly beautiful as well. Since antiquity, people have been looking to the stars and recording what they see; from Galileo's detail drawings of the moon, to New Horizons' latest photographs of the distant Pluto, there's something about space that makes us want to see it, record it and study it.

Since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in the early nineties, as well as the many unmanned probes now flying about the solar system, we've built up an enormous collection of breathtaking images of space. It's absolutely mind-blowing to look at these pictures and think that the things in them are really out there.

Not only are these beautiful, but they provide us with incredible information about how the cosmos works, sometimes even allowing us to peer back in time, right back to the birth of the universe itself.

Whether we're getting up close and personal with the planets in our own solar system, or peering into the furthest depths of space, we've had a pretty good look around considering our short time on our planet, and it has certainly produced some spectacular results.

15. Cassiopeia A


This psychedelic image if Cassiopeia A shows a remnant of a star that exploded 300 years previously.

Its eye-watering coat of many colours is the result of combining exposures taken across the electromagnetic spectrum and colouring them accordingly to make them visible to the naked eye.

Infrared signals are coloured red, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope are yellow, and X-rays are coloured green and blue, giving the resultant rainbow.

The turquoise speck at the very centre of the cloud is thought to be an ultra-dense neutron star, a remnant of the massive star that created the supernova. A neutron star is one of the densest bodies in the known universe, with the mass of a who star contained in an object just a few miles across. 

They're so dense that one teaspoon of material from a neutron star would be 900 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

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