Every year, thousands of incredible images of the sky are taken from observatories on the ground and in space, from spacecraft, and from amateur astronomers. And it seems that the people who make these images are getting better with time, creating nothing short of art.
And every year picking my favorites for the Top Ten list gets ridiculously harder. I fret about this each time (just as I did for the Top Tens of 2009
, the 2007 Runners up
, and 2006
). But I've never seen anything
like 2010; I went through over 1000 pictures, and even when I was merciless it was hard to get it down to 30. The agony of picking 10 was too much.
So to heck with it. I chose 14. Why? Well, for one thing, it's my list
. But I also want to find images that are not only beautiful, but also tell a scientific story... as well as one that finds that spot in your brain that simply pops
with wonder and awe.
This year, I found so many with that quality to them! So why limit myself? Some of the ones I chose may at first seem simple, or inelegant, but I picked them because they're more than just a pretty shot. They're telling us something wonderful and fundamental about the Universe. Astronomy is one of the handful of sciences which can appeal to both our eyes and our brains... as you'll see here. 10 14
Use the slider bar at the top to browse the images and get a brief description underneath, and click the big images themselves to go to a more thorough article. But whatever you do, make sure you click through to the higher-resolution versions of these images, because it's only there you'll get the full, incredible view they deserve.