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Space-Pictures.com

Space Pictures.com is a selection of pictures of Earth, the planets within our solar system, exoplanets outside our solar system, and space. It’s a collection of images with a particular focus on planets for two interrelated reasons.

First, some magnificent pictures of planets have come from recent space missions. These pictures include inspiring Mars Rover images, dramatic Cassini images, and of course, spectacular Hubble images.

Second, there is the question of life on other planets. In our solar system, there are multiple planets/moons that may support simple forms of life. Beyond our solar system, there is a rapidly growing list of new planets, some with the possibility to support life. In both cases, the search for extraterrestrial life has focused us on planets.

There are four major sections in Space Pictures. We start with Pictures of Earth, a series of memorable pictures taken over the past 40 years. Samples include the historic Earthrise captured by Apollo 8, the classic picture of Earth from space taken by Apollo 17, a unique and educational projection of the Earth at night, and NASA's inspiring series of "Blue Marble" satellite images of Earth. We also provide pictures of the moon including illustrations of the phases of the moon, the Apollo missions and the moon landing, and the recent confirmation of water on the moon.

In Pictures of Planets, we start with pictures of the planets in our solar system. In particular, we have emphasized those bodies with the possibility of extraterrestrial life such as the rugged planet Mars, the Europa moon orbiting the planet Jupiter, as well as hazy Titan and tiny Enceladus orbiting the planet Saturn. Next, we review the significant discoveries of exoplanets over the past 20 years. We discuss the more recently identified extrasolar planets that could support life such as those orbiting Gliese 581 and those newly identified by the Kepler telescope. We also contrast the possibility for finding simple forms of extraterrestrial life within our solar system, such as on Europa, against the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life many light years away.

In Pictures of Space, we provide pictures of stars, nebulae, and galaxies. We present images that illustrate the different types of stars and the various stages in the life cycle of a star from a main sequence star through to a neutron star as well as a supernova and a black hole. We use Hubble pictures to illustrate different types of nebulae and include the Orion Nebula, the Eagle Nebula and the Crab Nebula. We also present pictures of galaxies including the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy.

Our final section is focused exclusively on images from the Hubble Telescope. Over the past 20 years the Hubble telescope has given us a mountain of influential scientific information as well as a treasure trove of beautiful pictures. In Hubble Images, we present our choice of the dozen best Hubble images, from 1990 to today, based on the scientific advancements they represent. We also provide a set of images that showcases the marvelous color and variety of Hubble pictures as well as a group of photos of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field from the original Deep Field in 1995 through to the near-infrared enhanced images of today.

On a technical note, nearly all the pictures of space presented here are in the visual spectrum. This means that these pictures are what you would have seen if you had been at the same locations and had the same excellent, unwavering eyesight as the instruments that captured these images.

Most of the pictures of space presented on this site were obtained from NASA. They have been used courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory, NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA/JPL-Caltech, and NASA/STScI. There are also some images that have been used courtesy of NOAO/AURA/NSF, ESO, and individual photographers.