Favorite Astronomy Photos
December 16, 2005 2:49 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite astronomy picture? Would you please provide a link to it? The higher the resolution, the better.

I'm familiar with sources like Astronomy Picture of the Day and all that stuff, but I'm looking for the best of the best. Thank you.
posted by sciurus to Science & Nature (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This one (Warning: Really, really big.)
posted by Mwongozi at 3:05 PM on December 16, 2005

I don't know about best of the best, but I've always liked this guy's stuff. I don't think he's updated the page for a while though; if you email him, he might have more.
posted by JanetLand at 3:07 PM on December 16, 2005

Actually, this link makes more sense, sorry.
posted by JanetLand at 3:09 PM on December 16, 2005

I'm quite fond of this one. I had to photoshop out the text at the corners, though.
posted by Lycaste at 3:12 PM on December 16, 2005

The gallery on HubbleSite has some great stuff. I really like this one, although I can't honestly say I have a favorite.
posted by amro at 3:17 PM on December 16, 2005

someone i work with is making an 8 foot by 8 foot poster, at 2 arcsec per pixel resolution, of some relatively large patch of sky (the large magellanic cloud?) - it's the result of a survey done with an old(ish) schmidt telescope at ctio and will be displayed at aas (american astro society) in january. it's full colour (well, three colours for three filters) and should be absolutely stunning. i just found out about it today and have already asked if there will be copies available. if there's ever a download i'll consider posting it to mefi....

(if the above technical-ish description makes little sense - imagine a large wall covered with a perfectly sharp colour image of a huge gas cloud...)
posted by andrew cooke at 3:19 PM on December 16, 2005

I liked this so well I bought the poster: Earth at Night. The Astronomy Page of the Day is always worth a visit. On preview, shakes fist at Amro. Hah! No text!
posted by theora55 at 3:19 PM on December 16, 2005

The Pillars of Creation, as it has become known, is a deservedly famous Hubble image. Many more images appear in the showcase.

The AAO collection, most of which was acquired by David Malin is beautiful. Getting hold of a hi-res version is a pain in comparison to easily available Hubble images, but they're worth it. Many of them were acquired using traditional photographic plates, which Malin still works with, rather than CCDs. They're mostly optical images, so the colours are real.
posted by caek at 3:42 PM on December 16, 2005

This one from the WFI on ESO's 2.2m. As much as I love the distant stuff, there's something extra special about the moon.

hi-res version
posted by edd at 3:45 PM on December 16, 2005

I like the beautiful simplicity of M104.
posted by vacapinta at 3:48 PM on December 16, 2005

I do computational astrophysics for a living, and I render images of our datasets. I have a flickr set up of some of my favorite renderings, all taken from simulations of the first stars in the universe. This one is my current favorite. (Rendered here at 4096x4096, but not all of that is 'usable.')
posted by headlessagnew at 3:53 PM on December 16, 2005

This one, of Io against a backdrop of Jupiter taken by Cassini. Also used as the UK cover for Banks' The Algebraist.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:09 PM on December 16, 2005

On preview, shakes fist at Amro. Hah! No text!

'Twas not I!
posted by amro at 4:47 PM on December 16, 2005

I'm quite fond of this one. I had to photoshop out the text at the corners, though.

I don't have the link at the moment, I'm on a different computer, but if you go to the NASA photo website you should be able to find that "world at night" picture without the text.

I like it, I have it as my wallpaper on my laptop. :)
posted by ancamp at 5:47 PM on December 16, 2005

oops, I didn't read the post further up that had a different version of it anyway....
posted by ancamp at 5:48 PM on December 16, 2005

imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/12/images/x/formats/full_tif.tif (another version of the eagle nebula/pillars of creation, tiff 16mb, jpg here)
posted by suni at 5:48 PM on December 16, 2005

The Hubble Deep Field
posted by thewittyname at 6:09 PM on December 16, 2005

This one still wows me every time.
posted by normy at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2005

Here's a 500K jpg of the "earthlights" image, suitable for wallpaper use.
A reminder here that it's a digital composite, which is why there are no clouds.

There are so many astronomy images that I love it's hard to pick, but I've been using this enticing image of the Cat's Eye Nebula as an avatar for a while now.

For a long time I used these hemispheric composites of Mars (Cerberus and Valles Marineris being my faves) as my work wallpaper, never failing to get comments from passers by.

Of course the classic is the Earthrise taken from Apollo 8. (Though Apollo 11's is more familiar today.) There are also the Apollo 8 views of Earth solo, which are cited even today as the beginning of a paradigmic change in the way people see the planet.

Speaking of Apollo, this is my favorite image from the moon missions: John Young's jumping salute. Look at where his shadow was!
You can hardly see the wires at all.

It's not an especially great photo, but it was a major event: the first time a spacecraft imaged a volcano erupting on another solar system body, Io.

As for Shuttle missions, this great reflection self-pic in Noguchi's helmet from STS-114 made the rounds last summer.
posted by dhartung at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2005

Gorgeous photo taken from space of the area of New Zealand where I grew up. (The linked page also has a form that allows you to download a 16 megapixel version.)

Do rigged publicity shots count? (Again, link to mega-high version on page)

I love that crater on Phobos.

I also like this analemma, though again, the pic quality isn't so great.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:24 PM on December 16, 2005

D'oh! Sorry, Amro.
posted by theora55 at 7:47 PM on December 16, 2005

MacDesktops.com is a mixed bag, but some images in the "starscapes" category are nice, and they're all freely available up to 1600x1200 pixels (and larger). For true, intense color that hasn't been Photoshopped within an inch of its digital life, it's hard to beat auroras.
posted by rob511 at 9:35 PM on December 16, 2005

Xenophobe, I was going to post that picture of Io.

The sad thing is that when I saw someone had posted it, I guessed it would have been you. Curses, foiled again.

If anyone hasn't clicked on it, I recommend it. Wonderful picture.
posted by Justinian at 9:50 PM on December 16, 2005

REOX, are you sure that shot was taken by Cassini? I know that Cassini did a flyby of Jupiter, and is now orbiting around Saturn, but I think it's far more likely that it was taken by the now-retired Galileo spacecraft.

OTOH, some Googling seems to confirm that you're right, it is a Cassini shot ...
posted by intermod at 10:43 PM on December 16, 2005

Intermod: It's definitely from Cassini. Here is the official NASA page with the original shot. The image was, appropriately enough, taken on the morning of January 1st 2001, the first day of the third millenium.


Available as a jpg and 999x959 TIFF.
posted by Justinian at 10:57 PM on December 16, 2005

another classic biggie pic of the eagle nebula (hope it hasn't been posted already): www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im0725.html ("5477 x 5610 90.1 Mb 24-bit color TIFF")
posted by suni at 10:39 AM on December 17, 2005

There was a really neat recent self-portrait taken by an astronaut on a space walk. I don't have a link for it, but I'm sure someone else here knows what I'm talking 'bout
posted by ijoshua at 10:55 AM on December 17, 2005

Duh, first Google result for "astronaut self portrait."
posted by ijoshua at 10:57 AM on December 17, 2005

It's not immediately visually impressive, but I love this picture of the Earth, taken by Voyager 1 as it left the Solar System.

It's part of a series of pictures taken from that point, looking back at the Solar System. You can see the full set here, and this page has a schematic showing you how the pictures fit into an overall view of the Solar System, and larger versions of the six individual planet frames.
posted by chrismear at 11:44 AM on December 17, 2005

« Older What do I do about my food-addicted boyfriend?   |   Scratched lens repair for Oakleys? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.