<p><strong>Taken on Earth or up in space, photos can be fascinating when they look outward. From nearby stars to distant galaxies, we look weekly at our favorite portraits of the universe.</strong></p><p>Here, in a field near the small village of Sikonda in <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/hungary-guide/">Hungary</a>, a long exposure shows the motion of the celestial sky over an expansive field of straw. At the center of rotation is the north star—also known as the pole star—that is approximately aligned with the earth's axis and retains its position as the planet moves. (Related: <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121204-north-star-distance-closer-solar-system-space-science/">"North Star Closer to Earth Than Thought."</a>)</p>

Circular Sky

Taken on Earth or up in space, photos can be fascinating when they look outward. From nearby stars to distant galaxies, we look weekly at our favorite portraits of the universe.

Here, in a field near the small village of Sikonda in Hungary, a long exposure shows the motion of the celestial sky over an expansive field of straw. At the center of rotation is the north star—also known as the pole star—that is approximately aligned with the earth's axis and retains its position as the planet moves. (Related: "North Star Closer to Earth Than Thought.")

Photograph by Tamas Ladanyi, TWAN

Space Pictures This Week: Alien Invader, Framing Venus

Hubble spies an alien invader and Dragon docks with the ISS in this week's best space pictures.

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet