Astronomy picture of the day: we found 35 years' worth of amazing NASA images

Ignacio Javier Diaz Bobillo
This is NGC 3372, known as the Great Nebula in Carina (Image credit: Ignacio Javier Diaz Bobillo)

Few subjects are as awe-inspiring and fascinating than the night sky, and we've just uncovered an archive of photos from NASA that are out of this world. Astronomy Picture of the Day is a free website that exists to bring you just that: every day a different image or photograph of the universe gets featured, and there's also a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer so that you can find out more about the shot.

For example, in the picture above by Ignacio Javier Diaz Bobilloy , the explanation on the Astronomy Picture of the Day NASA website reads: "The entire Carina Nebula, captured here, spans over 300 light years and lies about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. Eta Carinae, the most energetic star in the nebula, was one of the brightest stars in the sky in the 1830s, but then faded dramatically. While Eta Carinae itself maybe on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that much of the Great Nebula in Carina has been a veritable supernova factory."

Wondering what the difference between astronomy and astrophotography is? Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe, while astrophotography is "the use of photography in astronomy!"

You can see up to 35 years' (yes, years) worth of daily photos on the Archive to inspire your astrophotography. Why not bookmark the page and revisit for a daily dose?

And if you're keen to start taking stunning astronomical images yourself, why not discover the best cameras for astrophotography?

Read more

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.