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Astronomy picture of the day: discover 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 (opens in new tab), the explanation on the Astronomy Picture of the Day NASA website (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)!"

You can see up to 35 years' (yes, years) worth of daily photos on the Archive (opens in new tab) 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

Landscape astrophotography masterclass (opens in new tab)
What is astrophotography and what camera equipment do you need? (opens in new tab)
Best CCD cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab)

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Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.