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The 100 Best Space Photos of 2018!

'Great Globular Cluster in Hercules'

Terry Hancock/Grand Mesa Observatory

A deep-space photo by astrophotographer Terry Hancock shows the globular star cluster M13 in stunning detail. M13, also known as the “Great Globular Cluster in Hercules,” is located about 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Hercules.

The Constellation of Orion Mosaic

Terry Hancock/Grand Mesa Observatory

A three-panel mosaic by astrophotographer Terry Hancock shows (from left to right)the Lambda Orionis Ring (also known as The Angel Fish Nebula), the Orion Nebula, the Horsehead Nebulae, and Barnard's Loop.

IC 1805 & Melotte 15 Inside the Heart Nebula Complex

John Chumack/Galactic Images

A close-up view of the Heart Nebula by astrophotographer John Chumack shows a young star cluster named Melotte 15. "Some places in the Universe are simply magical, and they can take your breath away,” Chuck said, "and this is one of those places!"

'Shooting Stars' and Star Trails

Maxim Senin

In this long-exposure photo of the night sky, a few oddball star trails don't follow the same circular path around Polaris, the North Star. That's because these are not actually stars but "shooting stars," or meteors that fell from space during the Perseid meteor shower, which peaked in mid-August. Astrophotographer Maxim Senin captured this photo from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society dark-sky site in Los Padres National Forest.

The Pillars of Creation

John Chumack/Galactic Images

The famous “Pillars of Creation” shine in new light in this image by astrophotographer John Chumack. This nebulous region of active star formation 7,000 light-years from Earth became one of the most iconic objects in deep space after the Hubble Space Telescope captured close-up views of the colorful clouds.

Auroras over Reeve’s DC6 Cargo Aircraft

ohn Chumack/Galactic Images

Green and purple auroras gleam above a cargo plane in Alaska in this image by astrophotographer John Chumack.

SH2-171 and a Rare Jewel

Terry Hancock/Grand Mesa Observatory

Astrophotographer Terry Hancock combined data he captured from the Grand Mesa Observatory with Hubble Space Telescope data to create this stunning view of Sharpless 171, a star-forming region 3,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cepheus.

The Anteater Nebula

Two blue reflection nebulas, NGC 6726 and NGC 6727, dominate this deep-space photo by astrophotographer Warren Keller. The nebula in the upper right, NGC 6726, is nicknamed the Anteater Nebula. You can see a wider field of the Anteater and the Corona Australis constellation here.

M61

Warren Keller/SSRO

The barred spiral galaxy Messier 61 swirls amid a sea of stars in the Virgo constellation in this photo by astrophotographer Warren Keller.

'Clouds of Auriga'

Ron Brecher

Several emission and reflection nebulas shine in this deep-space view of the constellation Auriga by astrophotgrapher Ron Brecher. The Flaming Star Nebula (IC405) dominates the upper right of the image. In the bottom left is IC410, an emission nebula which also contains "The Tadpoles" above and to the left of the central dark structure. The brightest cloud along the left edge of the image is the Spider Nebula (IC417). You can see an annotated view of the image here.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.