The 27 Most Mind-Blowing Space Photos Of 2013 Will Put Your Life On Earth In Perspective

12/18/2013 09:13 am ET | Updated Dec 18, 2013

NASA is the indispensable tour guide for space geeks of all sorts. The agency delivers a steady stream of mind-blowing photos -- from spectacularly detailed satellite images of our own planet to fantastic false-color portraits of some of the most mysterious objects in deep space. And you never have to leave home!

Ready for your cosmic sightseeing tour? Scroll down to see NASA's 27 most amazing space photos from 2013.

  • 1 Crab Nebula
  • This image, shot by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the iconic supernova remnant first observed by Chinese astronomers 960 years ago.
  • 2 Sun's "Canyon Of Fire"
  • A 200,000-mile magnetic filament of solar material erupts on the sun. This event, which took place in September, ripped through the sun's atmosphere and left behind what looks like a "canyon of fire."
  • 3 "Witch Head" Nebula
  • This nebula's name comes from its resemblance to a wicked witch screaming into space. Taken by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, this photo captures the billowy clouds of the nebula, where baby stars are being made.
  • 4 Star "Nursery" In Orion
  • This 10-minute exposure reveals nebula M-78, a set of more than 40 young, still-forming stars in the constellation of Orion.
  • 5 Horsehead Nebula
  • The Hubble Space Telescope took this breathtaking shot of the iconic Horsehead Nebula.
  • 6 Cloud Formations Over Indonesia
  • This view of Earth from space shows mushrooming clouds over the Indonesian island of Flores, as seen by NASA's Aqua Satellite.
  • 7 Gas And Dust Clouds
  • This image, generated by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows dust and gas clouds surrounding the supermassive star Eta Carinae.
  • 8 "Fireworks Galaxy"
  • This is NGC 6946, a medium-sized spiral galaxy located 22 million light years from Earth. It got its nickname, "The Fireworks Galaxy," because eight supernovas have been observed exploding inside it.
  • 9 Asteroids Dashing Past A Dying Star
  • NASA's WISE spacecraft took this striking shot of asteroids zooming past a dying star. As the heated gas and dust get sloughed away from the star, it creates the beautiful blue appearance.
  • 10 A Generation Of Stars
  • The Spitzer Space Telescope captured this image of the star-forming region W5. There are generations of stars in this photo -- the oldest stars appear as blue dots, while the youngest stars outline the cavities where the old ones reside. The white areas are where young stars are forming.
  • 11 Saturn's Moon Titan
  • The Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, on July 14.
  • 12 Comet ISON Heading Toward The Sun
  • On November 27, Comet ISON was imaged by the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. In this coronagraph, the sun is blocked so you can see structures around it. The comet is at lower right. The billowy white streams coming from the sun are giant clouds of solar material.
  • 13 Artificial Light Across The U.S.
  • This natural-light mosaic image was captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite on Oct. 1.
  • 14 Spiral Galaxy 4921
  • The Hubble Space Telescope took this photo of Galaxy 4921, an anemic spiral galaxy about 320 million light years from Earth. It's been dubbed "anemic" because it has a low rate of star formation and low surface brightness. In this image, its bright nucleus can be seen in the center. Blue clusters of recently formed stars gather around it.
  • 15 Nanosatellites Being Released From The Space Station
  • These nanosatellites, or cubesats, were deployed by the International Space Station's Small Satellite Orbital Deployer on November 19.
  • 16 Mercury
  • This image of the planet Mercury was taken on October 2.
  • 17 Stellar Explosion
  • The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of a star exploding in the spiral galaxy NGC 6984. The new supernova, SN 2013ek, is the bright star-like object just slightly above and to the right of the galaxy's center.
  • 18 View Of Earth From Space
  • The photo shows the Upsala Glacier on the Argentine side of the North Patagonian Icefield as seen by an astronaut aboard the ISS.
  • 19 Saturn's North Pole
  • This image, taken by the Cassini spacecraft over 10 hours on December 10, shows a vast hexagonal weather pattern capping Saturn's north pole.
  • 20 The Ghost Of Jupiter Nebula
  • This image, taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope, shows the disembodied remnants of a dying star. The infrared view shows the cooler outer halo of the dying star in red.
  • 21 Cygnus Spacecraft Being Released
  • On October 22, ISS astronauts released Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus spacecraft. It headed back to Earth on October 23 after delivering to the ISS 1,300 pounds of cargo -- including food, clothing and student experiments.
  • 22 Colorful Mercury
  • NASA's Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft captured this dazzling false-color image.
  • 23 Large Magellanic Cloud
  • This sparkly satellite galaxy is about 163,000 light years from our own.
  • 24 Northern Lights From Space
  • Mike Hopkins, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, took this picture.
  • 25 Vesta, The Asteroid
  • NASA's Dawn spacecraft provided views of the massive asteroid Vesta. The mountain on the asteroid's south pole is more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
  • 26 Gray Earth
  • This image was captured by the Juno spacecraft on October 9. The craft used Earth's gravity to get a boost to reach its destination: Jupiter.
  • 27 Spacecraft Approaching The ISS
  • This photo shows a Soyuz spacecraft as it approached the International Space Station on September 25.

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