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Collection of Striking and Brilliant Astronomical Photography

 We're so lucky to be living during a time of such active space exploration, so fortunate to witness the magnificent grandeur of such distant and mysterious locations in the cosmos. Take a trip to the farthest reaches of the universe and back to our beautiful home planet with this ultimate collection of astronomical photography, courtesy of NASA, The Royal Observatory and the most prestigious space photography contests of the past few years. Click on these posts by title or photo to see the entire collection.
 
The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England has been holding the "Best Astronomy Photography" competition. This year's winners and runner-ups are exceptional, truly our universe is amazing, and I'm delighted to share these with you.
 
Most of us live in cities and towns, but the more people reside in the same place; the more light they shine at night. All of that light makes life easier, but it can outshine all but the brightest stars, and we miss the universe’ nightly show. If all the lights were off at night, this is what we would see.
 
The Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is now in its seventh year, and the 2015 winners have just been announced. The contest is run by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England and attracts tens of thousands of entries from around the world. A selection of stunning images will be on display in London until June 2015, and they offer a rare glimpse into the magnificence of our universe and Earth's role within it. Enjoy a selection of prize-winning and commended photos in this incredible collection.
 
Mars may be the second smallest planet in our solar system, but contrary to popular belief, it is filled with mystery and a whole lot of personality. It has been reported that this red planet has surface features reminiscent of the impact craters of the moon, as well as the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. Most recently, scientists have discovered signs of flowing water - meaning that there is a high chance that the planet could have supported life.
 
Astrophotography is the art of photographing the beauty of the cosmos, and this lucky 19-year-old photographer, Ulderico Granger, got to spend some time in Hawaii, where you supposedly can see the stars better than you can anywhere else in the world. I don't know about you, but I was blown away by the sheer talent of this young man - the results he obtained are truly breathtaking. Take a look.
 
 
I have always found space exploration to be incredibly fascinating - its beauty and vastness are undoubtedly mesmerizing. Recently, space exploration has seen stunning progress, with various telescopes and satellites capturing a number of incredible photographs of our galaxy and beyond. Here are some of the best space photos of recent years.
 
On October 24, 2017, NASA's Juno spacecraft made its 8th close flyby of Jupiter. While researchers at NASA managed to gather quite a good deal of scientific data, the most stunning thing that they found was this series of impressive images. The pictures below show the planet's storms, poles, its volcanic moon, and even a load of strange swirling patterns that look like something straight out of a Van Gogh painting.
 
NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who was at the time aboard the International Space Station,  shares pictures of the Earth he snaps with the world through Twitter.  Wheelock has been posting impressive photos of the Earth and some of his thoughts ever since he moved into the space station in June, five months after it got Internet access.
 
The incredible people who work for NASA see some incredible sights on a daily basis, and thankfully for us common folk they also love to take stunning pictures to share with the public. Below, you'll find 15 of their most amazing recent pictures, along with brief explanations of exactly what is going on in each one.
 
The Royal Observatory’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographs of the Year awards has released its shortlist for the best space pictures of 2018. This year’s line-up includes stunning images of the raging surface of the sun, the Northern Lights, and depictions of galaxies that are light-years away.
 
When we think about nature photography, we typically think of animals and landscapes, and perhaps a rare underwater picture, but most of nature isn’t on the ground or even in the sea, but above us. The heavens are full of majesty and beauty that is truly humbling in its scope. The Insight Investment Astronomy Photograph of the Year competition aims to give us a glimpse of this often-overlooked celestial beauty.
 

Don Pettit is a NASA astronaut recently returned from the International Space Station, orbiting our world. He has uploaded this fantastic series of images depicting star trails. How did he do it? He took long exposure photos (using slow camera shutter speed). According to Pettit, he took multiple 30-second long exposures, then 'stacked' them together using imaging software, and thus producing this amazing gallery, of star trails and our planet as the space station revolves it at a speed of 28,000 km/h (17,500 mph)!

 
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