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Top 10 space photos of 2018: Nasa images that will take you beyond stars

Here are the best photos of 2018 captured by Nasa's spacecraft and telescope

BS Web Team 

Each year we go a little further and understand a little bit more about the final frontier — and 2018 was no exception. We said goodbye to a few of our favourite space missions, celebrated an anniversary, and got one step closer to Mars. Before we ring in the New Year, here’s a quick look back at 2018’s most significant achievements in space exploration.

reached a significant milestone this year turning 60 years old. Space exploration has been going strong in 2018. Each year we go a little further and understand a little bit more about the final frontier — and 2018 was no exception. In 2018, it launched the Parker solar probe and the Nasa's insight lander made it to Mars. Here are the best photos of 2018.

Touching the Sun
 
Touching the Sun
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Touching the Sun | (Photo: NASA)

Nasa's mission Touching the moon. 

For the first time, a spacecraft will swoop in and touch the sun. The Parker Solar Probe will make 24 orbits of the star before swooping into the outermost part of the solar atmosphere, known as the corona, to study the sun up close and personal

The supersonic aircraft

The supersonic aircraft
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The supersonic aircraft | (Photo: NASA)

This image of the horizon was seen from the cockpit of Armstrong Flight Research Center’s F/A-18 research aircraft during a flight in support of the Quiet Supersonic Flights 2018 research series, or QSF18. 

Flyby Ultima Thule

Flyby Ultima Thule
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Flyby Ultima Thule | (Photo: NASA)

Nasa's New Horizon space probe will sweep past the icy edge of Ultima Thule

New Horizons will gather a swathe of images and other data over the course of just a few hours leading up to and beyond the closest approach

Celestial Snow Angel

Celestial Snow Angel
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Celestial Snow Angel | (Photo: NASA)

 

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope presents a festive holiday greeting. The bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, looks like a soaring, celestial snow angel. The outstretched “wings” of the nebula record the contrasting imprint of heat and motion against the backdrop of a colder medium

 

Cosmic Winterland

Cosmic Winterland
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Cosmic Winterland | (Photo: NASA)

 

Astronomers are calling this colorful nebula a "winter wonderland." With that frosty blue hue and flurries of stars speckled across cosmic clouds, this wintry nebula is a sight to behold. 

This cloud of cosmic gas and dust is NGC 6357, also known as the War and Peace Nebula — a nickname that stems from its shape, which some say resembles a dove on one side and a skull on the other. 

 

Halfway there

Halfway there
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Halfway there | (Photo: Nasa)

 

On December 21, it was the 16th science pass of Jupiter and marked the solar-powered spacecraft Juno's halfway point in data collection during its prime mission.

Juno is in a highly-elliptical 53-day orbit around Jupiter. Each orbit includes a close passage over the planet's cloud deck, where it flies a ground track that extends from Jupiter's north pole to its south pole. 

 

Jupiter's Moons

Jupiter's Moons
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Jupiter's Moons | (Photo: Nasa)

 

Jupiter's fifth moon, Io, is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. The surface of Io is splotched with lava lakes and floodplains of liquid rock. 

Nasa's Juno spacecraft which is currently orbiting Jupiter found a possible hotspot on Jupiter on December 16. Io is 4.5 billion years old, the same age as Jupiter. 

 

Multitude of solar systems

Multitude of solar systems
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Multitude of solar systems | (Photo: Nasa)

The solar system is just one specific planetary system—a star with planets orbiting around it. Our planetary system is the only one officially called “solar system,” but astronomers have discovered more than 2,500 other stars with planets orbiting them in our galaxy. That’s just how many we’ve found so far. There are likely to be many more planetary systems out there waiting to be discovered!

Helix Nebula

Helix Nebula
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Helix Nebula | (Photo: Nasa)

 

The Helix Nebula is one of the most familiar nebulae in astronomy, and it’s been nicknamed the “Eye of God”. The Helix Nebula is one of the closest examples of a planetary nebula. Astronomers have estimated its distance to only be 700 light-years away.

Fun Fact: Nebulae exist in the space between stars—also known as interstellar space. 
 
Did you know that the Helix nebula (pictured here) is the closest known nebula to Earth?

 

Behold, Moon rise!

Behold, Moon rise!
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Behold, Moon rise! | (Photo: Nasa)

Behold, Moon rise! The full Moon is seen as the orbiting outpost was 252 miles above the Indian Ocean about 1,000 kilometers due south of India


First Published: Sun, December 30 2018. 19:30 IST
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