Top 10 Most Mind-Blowing Pics Taken in Space

Credits: Joshua Karpati Phoebe De Jeu

Script written by Michael Wynands

The final frontier sure is beautiful. From the Saturnian Hurricanes, to the NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, and the Veil Nebula, these images are breathtaking. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Most Mind-Blowing Pics Taken in Space.

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Most Mind-Blowing Pics Taken in Space


The final frontier sure is beautiful. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Most Mind-Blowing Pics Taken in Space.

For this list, we’re looking at the most impressive, awe-inspiring, colorized photos of outer space ever taken.

#10: Saturnian Hurricanes

Our planet has more than its fair share of natural disasters. But earth isn’t the only celestial body in our solar system that plays host to extreme weather, as seen by this breathtaking picture of the sixth planet from the sun. Violent yet beautiful, this photo inspires awe with its magnificent contrasting colorized hues, while the storm itself commands respect. That churning, dark red-colored eye has an estimated diameter of 1,250 miles, and boasts wind speeds of up to 330 miles per hour. Situated on Saturn’s north pole and captured in 2004 by the Cassini spacecraft, the storm makes for an unforgettable sight - just not one you’d want to get any closer to.


#9: NGC 4038 and NGC 4039

Found in the Corvus constellation, and referred to collectively as the Antennae Galaxies, NGCs 4038 and 4039 are two galaxies merging to become one. They’ve been of great interest to humanity since their discovery in 1785 by astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel. One can only imagine the excitement he would have felt seeing the photos of his discovery taken in 1996 by the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. With its clear impression of movement and colossal energy, there’s something truly magical about this composite image. And though uncommon, this isn’t the only set of merging galaxies of its kind: ARP 256 has similarly fascinated the scientific community.


#8: Veil Nebula

Like something straight out of a science fiction film, this photo of the Veil Nebula can only be described as “electrifying”. It looks like some sort of otherworldly blue space lightning, arcing across a canvas of black space and stars, seemingly radiating with heat. In reality however, you are looking at hot, ionized gas and dust particles, which can be found in the Cygnus constellation. It is the remains of a supernova, and though its explosive past is well behind it, the Veil Nebula remains a massive, powerful and, quite simply, a moving sight to behold.


#7: V838 Monocerotis

Looking at this distant star and its dust cloud formations… it can be hard to believe that you’re actually looking at a photo and not some sort of fantasy painting. The vivid colors, the manner in which they swirl, and the composition of the image all combine to create something truly breathtaking. In 2002, this red supergiant star had a “stellar outburst” which the good folks behind the Hubble were kind enough to monitor, photograph and share with the rest of the world. This light pulse affected the surrounding dust and the manner in which we perceive it. Suffice it to say, the end result is stunning.


#6: Westerlund 2

We’ve got one word for you - “purple”. Or should we say “pink”? Actually, as we move towards the outer edge of this photograph of a remarkable extraplanetary formation, the colors begin to shift towards more of a dark red. Okay… perhaps we can’t summarize this stunning celestial sight in one word. Unless, of course, that word is “WOOOOOOOW”. This young star cluster is actually found in our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, and, apart from being beautiful, is notable in that it is home to some of the largest and brightest stars in the known universe. Full of young, “massive objects”, this is a star cluster full of wonder.


#5: Hubble Ultra-Deep Field

While there are many beautiful images of space out there, not all really put celestial bodies into perspective. This particular photo however, is sure to make you feel very, very small. Published by NASA in 2004, and taken using the ubiquitous Hubble telescope, this truly mind-blowing image allows you to look at not one, but roughly 10,000 galaxies, both near and far . . . all at once. A composite photo that looks back billions of years, what makes this image even more staggering is that it covers just a small area of space. It sure is a big universe out there. In 2012, NASA released an updated version, known as eXtreme Deep Field.



#4: NGC 1603

Another awe-inspiring sight to behold. Like Westerlund 2, NGC 1603 is a densely packed cluster of stars. This swirling nebula is not only home to massive young stars, but also a huge cloud of gas and plasma, which captures the light in fascinating ways. Westerlund 2 might boast some of the largest stars, but you might be able to make out from this image that NGC 1603 is home to the most densely packed concentration of them in the Milky Way. To put this stunning image in perspective, the largest star in NGC 1603 is 132 times the size of our own sun.


#3: Horsehead Nebula

This particular celestial formation is so famous, you likely already know it by name. A dark nebula, located in the even more iconic constellation, Orion, this cloud of gas and dust is also known as Barnard 33 and was first discovered in 1888 by astronomer Williamina Fleming. Over the years, it has been photographed numerous times, to increasingly awe-inspiring effect. Hydrogen gas gives this nebula a chance to boast its beautiful pink & reddish glow, while the dense concentrations of dust give it dynamic texture. A dramatic sight, it’s little wonder that the Horsehead Nebula has become one of the most photographed celestial icons.

#2: The Blue Marble

In search of truly awe-inspiring images, we’ve travelled deep into space, but one of the most mind-blowing extraplanetary photos is actually of . . . us. This ultimate selfie was taken in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17, the first “Blue Marble” photo was shot at a distance of 18,000 miles from earth… and it was unlike anything we’d seen before. Since then, as technology has improved, NASA has continued to release updated versions of this same shot. The 2012 update, taken from the Suomi NPP satellite, allows us to see our planet in unprecedented detail.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Mimas and Saturn's Rings


Cone Nebula


Saturn from Cassini


#1: Pillars of Creation

Of the many iconic photos taken in space, this is most likely the most famous and celebrated. After all, you don’t get a name like “Pillars of Creation” by being just average. This gaseous formation, found in Messier 16, aka the “Eagle Nebula”, truly looks divine. Set against a breathtaking background of bright stars, these dark, shapely columns are outlined by a bright, almost fluorescent glow. Of course, there’s more to this phenomenon than good looks. This photograph is so-named because we are seeing the formation of new stars, along with the progressive erosion of these columns from nearby starlight. Both in appearance and concept, this photo inspires.
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