Six of the very best space pictures

Dan O’Neill 2017-07-12 3 min read

I’ve been obsessed with space for as long as I can remember. So much so, I made my wife and I detour as far as Kennedy Space Centre on part of our honeymoon in Florida. Recently I saw Thomas Pesquet’s photo of the Cygnus spacecraft from the ISS again and it reminded me that I really needed to throw together a list of my favourite space photographs.

This is that photo and one of the more recent photographs in this list. It was featured all over the place recently and for good reason - it’s a pretty stunning photograph. Taken by Thomas Pesquet, Expedition 51 Flight Engineer, it shows the Cygnus spacecraft on its way to the ISS with a truly epic backdrop behind. Credit: Thomas Pesquet and NASA/ESA

Cygnus from the ISS

Although this next photo technically isn’t of space, I guess it still qualifies as these satellites spend all of their time looking into space… This is the VLA, or Very Large Array out in central New Mexico, USA. This was my desktop background on my home computer for a very long time. I really need to get out to visit these before they’re past their usefulness. Credit: By John Fowler, via Wikimedia Commons

The VLA or Very Large Array

Obviously I can only imagine what it must have been like to actually witness this sight. Also, knowing that photographs never really live up to what you see in real life, this view must have been pretty breathtaking, when the photograph of it is this good. Credit: NASA


This is another new one, and it is amazing. The scale alone is something that I constantly struggle with. This is from the Juno mission to Jupiter, and those storms are Earth sized. The size of Earth. Earth. The planet Earth. Mind blowing. This image has been processed to enhance colour differences “showing the amazing variety in Jupiter’s stormy atmosphere”. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran


The horsehead nebula is probably the most recognisable of all the nebula pictures I’ve ever seen. I’m always amazed by the time it takes to make these images, and the amount of work required to achieve (approximate) true colour. It also blows my mind that the first time this was recorded was way back in 1888. Credit: N.A.Sharp/NOAO/AURA/NSF

The Horsehead Nebula

This photo has been my phones background for quite a while at this stage. And that’s rare - I normally change it almost daily. I’m absolutely amazed there isn’t a tether or something keeping Bruce McCandless II (I think that’s who this picture is of) attached to the shuttle. Credit: NASA Public Domain

U.S. astronaut Bruce McCandless uses a manned maneuvering unit

Bonus image! Although there’s nothing really special about the next photo apart from the fact that I’m in it! Kind of. Taken by Thomas Pesquet and shared by Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough on St Patrick’s Day in 2017. Credits: ESA/NASA

Dublin from Space at Night