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<Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2008 ⁄ >

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I love the knowledge we have of how the cosmos works. I love understanding the size and scale of things, the motions of the Universe, the interaction of objects through gravity, electromagnetism, and collisions. I love sitting out under a dark sky and soaking in the cold, dim points of light, and knowing that we know what they are and how they work, the first generations of humans on Earth who can make such a boast.

And I love the pictures.

Galaxies, moons, supernovae, planets, nebulae, dust... all of it. The Universe is saturated in beauty, and our technology is starting to catch up with it. We can capture the glowing glamor of the cosmos, and stare in awe and rapture.

Every year, more and more images become available of astronomical objects. And every year I try to pick my favorite ten to post here at the year's end (check out 2007 and 2006). This year, the ten I have chosen have a significant distance bias; they lean toward being very close. But don't fret: they range in distance literally from the closest to the farthest objects we can see.

This list is mine, and has my bias. I choose the pictures for beauty, for scientific interest, for both or for neither. Sometimes they're just cool, and sometimes they are a little frightening, but I hope they all will make you think, and move you in some way. Under most images is a link to embiggen them quite cromulently.

Ready? Strap yourself in. We're traveling from here to eternity! To begin your journey, you can click the "Next" button under the image above, or just start here.

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Calculate distance, bearing and more between Latitude/Longitude points


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