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Stunning star shows and a bear on Mars

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Stunning star shows and a bear on Mars

Space is one of the most versatile and photogenic subjects to grace a camera or telescope, and this year was no different. From a sunrise captured by the International Space Station to the most distant star ever observed, here are some of the best space photographs taken in 2023.

The MVP of astrophotography continues to be the powerful James Webb Space Telescope. This year it cast its incredible infrared eyes over supernova remnants and star-forming regions near the center of the galaxy, captured Earendel – the most distant known star, located some 12.9 billion light-years away – and casually discovered new objects, completely unknown to science, lurking behind the Orion Nebula.

That said, the aging Hubble Space Telescope also proved it still has some life left in it yet. Along with some stunningly detailed images of sparkling globular clusters, it captured a dancing duo of galaxies, a new UV view of Jupiter, and teamed up with Webb for a deep-field image of the colorful Christmas Tree galaxy cluster.

An incredibly detailed photo of Terzan 12, a globular star cluster located on the fringes of the Milky Way, snapped by Hubble

NASA, ESA, ESA/Hubble, Roger Cohen (RU)

Meanwhile on the Red Planet, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted a giant bear on Mars – or at least, a curious mountain and a pair of craters that looks suspiciously like one. Elsewhere, the Curiosity rover sent us a panoramic postcard of the picturesque Martian desert, shot in two bursts, morning and afternoon, over one day.

So grab a coffee, crane your necks skywards and take in these sights plus other highlights in our gallery showcasing the best space photography of 2023.

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