This glowing fog over Phoenix, Arizona, has a perfectly natural explanation: It's exhaust from a SpaceX rocket that launched from California.
This glowing fog over Phoenix, Arizona, has a perfectly natural explanation: It's exhaust from a SpaceX rocket that launched from California.
Photograph by Mike Olbinski

See this year's most stunning space pictures

From glowing rockets to the swirling storms of Jupiter, the past year brought us many awe-inspiring views of the cosmos.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our picks of the most awe-inspiring space pictures from the last 12 months.

Photographers from our Your Shot community captured colorful auroras around the globe. Telescopes on the ground and in orbit beamed back stunning images of distant galaxies. Pictures taken from the International Space Station made our home planet look like abstract art. And across the solar system, robotic explorers showed us just how dynamic—and familiar—alien terrains and atmospheres can appear.

After a year of stunning celestial visuals, it was hard to narrow it down to just these photos. We at National Geographic are excited to see what 2019 brings, and we look forward to being just as starstruck as we were this year.

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