It's the most wonderful time of the year: When I spend days and days laboring over thousands of space and astronomy photos, agonizing over which ones to include in my annual list of the best of the year.
But it's done! I culled the vast collection down to two dozen photos of the Universe, and here they are: The Best Astronomy and Space Photos of 2013 (or click here to see the entire gallery in one page, but it may take a moment to load all the images).
Let me add that the pictures are beautiful, sure, but I didn't choose them necessarily for their beauty; I also picked ones that are important, thought-provoking, or show something in an unusual way. I guarantee they'll delight your eyes and tickle your brain. And isn't that why we explore space in the first place?*
Top 14 Solar System Pictures of 2011
Top 16 Space Pictures of 2011
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2010 - Runners Up
The Top 14 Astronomy Pictures of 2010
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2009
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2008 (gallery currently offline; we’re working on it!)
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2007 - Runners Up
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2007
Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2006