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This image shows NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye (Credit: AP)

This image shows NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula. A planetary nebula forms when sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers that form bright nebulae.

Stunning images from space

NASA's telescopes and spacecraft have captured images from our own solar system to the far reaches of the universe. From the Hubble Space Telescope to the Voyager probes, here are some of the best.

Crab Nebula

This image made by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space
(Credit: AP)

This image made by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the entire Crab Nebula.

Horsehead Nebula

This image shows Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula,
(Credit: AP)

This image shows Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula, in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).

Messier 57, the Ring Nebula

This image shows Messier 57, the Ring Nebula.
(Credit: AP)

This image shows Messier 57, the Ring Nebula.

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'Butterfly Nebula'

This image shows jets of gas heated to
(Credit: AP)

This image shows jets of gas heated to nearly 20,000 degrees Celsius traveling at more than 590,000 mph streaming from the dying star NGC 6302, the "Butterfly Nebula" in the Milky Way galaxy.

Monkey Head Nebula

This infrared image shows part of NGC 2174,
(Credit: AP)

This infrared image shows part of NGC 2174, the Monkey Head Nebula.

NGC 1300

This image shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. It is considered to be prototypical of barred spiral galaxies.

Cat's Eye Nebula

This image shows NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye
(Credit: AP)

This image shows NGC 6543, the Cat's Eye Nebula. A planetary nebula forms when sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers that form bright nebulae.

NGC 4526

This image shows NGC 4526. One of the
(Credit: AP)

This image shows NGC 4526. One of the brightest lenticular galaxies known, it has hosted two known supernova explosions, one in 1969 and another in 1994, and is known to have a supermassive black hole at its center with a mass of 450 million suns.

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This image shows the Orion Nebula and the
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the Orion Nebula and the process of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars.

Pismis 24

This image shows the star cluster Pismis 24
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the star cluster Pismis 24 in the core of the large emission nebula NGC 6357. Part of the nebula is ionized by the youngest (bluest) heavy stars emitting intense ultraviolet radiation, heating the gas surrounding the cluster and creating a bubble in NGC 6357.

Cassiopeia A

This image shows the tattered remains of a
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the tattered remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A. It is the youngest known remnant from a supernova explosion in the Milky Way.

Whirlpool Galaxy

This January 2005 image made by the NASA/ESA
(Credit: AP)

This January 2005 image made by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and a companion galaxy. The Whirlpool's two curving arms are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters of new stars.

Deep Space

This image shows nearly 10,000 galaxies in the
(Credit: AP)

This image shows nearly 10,000 galaxies in the deepest visible-light image of the cosmos, cutting across billions of light-years.

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Eagle Nebula

This image shows a tower of cold gas
(Credit: AP)

This image shows a tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years high, about twice the distance from our sun to the next nearest star.

UGC 10214

This image shows galaxy UGC 10214 with a
(Credit: AP)

This image shows galaxy UGC 10214 with a long streamer of stars. Its distorted shape was caused by another galaxy passing nearby.

Dark interstellar cloud being destroyed

This image shows the tendrils of a dark
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the tendrils of a dark interstellar cloud being destroyed by the passage of one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster.

'Pillars of Creation'

This image shows the Eagle Nebula's "Pillars of
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the Eagle Nebula's "Pillars of Creation." The dust and gas in the pillars is seared by the intense radiation from young stars and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars.

Stephan's Quintet

This image shows a group of five galaxies
(Credit: AP)

This image shows a group of five galaxies known as Stephan's Quintet.

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Abell 1703

This image shows Abell 1703, comprising more than
(Credit: AP)

This image shows Abell 1703, comprising more than 100 different galaxies whose collective mass acts as a gravitational lens. The massive galaxy cluster, about 3 billion light-years from Earth, bends the light rays of galaxies behind it, stretching their images into multiple arcs.

Carina Nebula

This image shows the tip of the 3-light-year-long
(Credit: AP)

This image shows the tip of the 3-light-year-long pillar in a stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away from Earth. Composed of gas and dust, the structure is illuminated by light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image.

M66 galaxy

This image shows M66, the largest of the
(Credit: AP)

This image shows M66, the largest of the Leo Triplet galaxies. It has asymmetrical spiral arms and an apparently displaced core most likely caused by the gravitational pull of the other two members of the trio.

Carina Nebula

This February 2010 image made by the NASA/ESA
(Credit: AP)

This February 2010 image made by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a 3-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust in the Carina Nebula being eaten away by light from nearby bright stars. Inside, infant stars fire off jets of gas, seen streaming from towering peaks. The colors signal the presence of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red).

'Butterfly Nebula'

This image shows jets of gas heated to
(Credit: AP)

This image shows jets of gas heated to nearly 20,000 degrees Celsius traveling at more than 590,000 mph streaming from the dying star NGC 6302, the "Butterfly Nebula" in the Milky Way galaxy.

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Andromeda galaxy

A cropped photo captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble
(Credit: Getty Images / J. Dalcanton, University of Washington)

A cropped photo captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and released on Jan. 6, 2015, shows the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy.

Antennae galaxies collide

The Antennae galaxies collide, creating billions of new
(Credit: NASA/ESA)

The Antennae galaxies collide, creating billions of new stars, in this Hubble Space Telescope image.

VdB 152

This image shows nebula VdB 152, which is
(Credit: Getty Images/NASA)

This image shows nebula VdB 152, which is nearly 1,400 light-years away in the royal constellation Cepheus.

Sombrero Galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope photographs Messier 104 (M104),
(Credit: NASA/ESA)

The Hubble Space Telescope photographs Messier 104 (M104), the Sombrero Galaxy, from 50 million light-years away.

'Pillars of Creation'

These pillar-like structures are columns of cool interstellar
(Credit: NASA/ESA)

These pillar-like structures are columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are incubators for new stars.

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eXtreme Deep Field

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image is the
(Credit: NASA/ESA)

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image is the deepest image of the universe ever produced, revealing about 5,500 galaxies and several of the most distant objects ever identified.

Saturn and moons

The Hubble Space Telescope captures the giant orange
(Credit: NASA/ESA)

The Hubble Space Telescope captures the giant orange moon Titan and white icy moons Enceladus, Dione and Mimas passing in front of Saturn.

Milky Way

The Milky Way and other galaxies in the
(Credit: AFP PHOTO / NASA)

The Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe harbor many young star clusters and associations that each contain hundreds to thousands of hot, massive, young stars.

Moon's north polar region

A photo provided by NASA on 18 March
(Credit: NASA)

A photo provided by NASA on 18 March 2014 is described as the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon's north polar region ever created by scientists, using cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an area equal to more than one-quarter of the United States.

SpaceX Dragon

In this image provided by NASA, the SpaceX
(Credit: AP)

In this image provided by NASA, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station.

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R Sculptoris

This undated image downloaded from the Atacama Large
(Credit: AP)

This undated image downloaded from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) website shows a never-before-seen spiral structure in the material around the old star, R Sculptoris.

NGC 6362

This handout image by the European Southern Observatory
(Credit: AFP PHOTO / ESO)

This handout image by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) shows the globular cluster NGC 6362, a brilliant ball of ancient stars that lies in the southern constellation of Ara.

Apollo 11

Eagle, the Apollo 11 lunar lander and first
(Credit: NASA)

Eagle, the Apollo 11 lunar lander and first to land on the moon, in orbit after separating from the command module, Columbia.

Jupiter

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system
(Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system - larger than all the other planets combined - photographed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft with moon Europa casting a shadow.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a storm 2-3 times
(Credit: NASA/JPL)

Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a storm 2-3 times larger than the Earth itself, as seen from the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

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Sunset on Mars

The sun sets on Gusev crater, as seen
(Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell)

The sun sets on Gusev crater, as seen from NASA's Spirit Rover on Mars.

Earth

The Blue Marble Earth montage, created over four
(Credit: NASA)

The Blue Marble Earth montage, created over four orbits around the Earth by the Suomi NPP satellite.

Io, Jupiter's moon

This undated image by the Voyager 1 spacecraft
(Credit: NASA/JPL)

This undated image by the Voyager 1 spacecraft demonstrates the extreme volcanic activity of Jupiter's moon, Io, the most volcanically active object in the solar system and fourth largest moon.

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula, photographed by the Very Large
(Credit: NASA)

The Crab Nebula, photographed by the Very Large Telescope in Chile, is the result of a star that Chinese and possibly Indian astronomers observed exploding in 1054 A.D.

Vesta

An undated image of the asteroid Vesta taken
(Credit: AP)

An undated image of the asteroid Vesta taken by the NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

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Sun's corona

A piece of the sun's outer layer, the
(Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO)

A piece of the sun's outer layer, the corona, ejects into space.

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