Astronomy is a beautiful science.
I mean that literally and figuratively. Of course, astronomy is literally telling us our place in the Universe, how everything works, how it fits together … and it’s done on the grandest of scales. There’s a beauty in the tapestry of the cosmos.
But it’s also just beautiful. Nebulae, galaxies, stars, planets, aurorae; from the near sky to the most distant realms, the Universe is filled to overflowing with pure, simple beauty.
That’s why, every year, I gather together my favorite images taken over the past twelve months and present them to you, my readers. It’s a difficult task, winnowing down the thousands of pictures taken of the sky that I’ve seen, gathering them into groups, picking the best of the best, and then putting them together. It's a tough but admittedly joyful process: I'm sifting through gorgeous depictions of the science I love! And in the end I have a collection of polished gems to share with you. I pick them for their beauty, of course, but also for their remarkableness, their outstanding nature. Something different, something unique, something just plain cool.
This year, as always, we had an amazing crop of pictures from all over—and above—the world. So, from our Earth's atmosphere to quite literally the very edge of the observable Universe, may I present to you: The Top Astronomy Pictures of 2012.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
I’m 25. I Have $250.03.
My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
- NSA Is Letting its Chief Technical Officer Work 20 Hours a Week for a Private Company
- After 13 Years of U.S. Occupation, Afghanistan Opium Production Is at an All-Time High
- The Pennsylvania Fugitive Sniper Is Still at Large After 39 Days
- Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to Five Years, May Only Serve Ten Months