2016 was a year full of new discoveries and beautiful imagery coming from our universe. We saw new images of Saturn’s rings and even of the surface of our own moon. We got a deeper look into the structure of one of the brightest galaxies, and witnessed stunning views taken from multiple astronauts from the NASA, ESA, JAXA agencies as they circled our planet aboard the International Space Station.
TIME’s photo editors select the best and most stunning space images of this year.
Moonrise on the International Space Station, taken by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. \
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, released all of the data from its Kayuga spacecraft in Oct. 2016 showing images of the Earth captured from the moons surface.
Running Man Nebula, Jan. 8, 2016.
The Richat Structure or “Bulls Eye” in Mauritania, June 30, 2016.
The 2,980-mile-wide Cassini Division in Saturn's rings on the sunlit side of the rings from about 4 degrees above the ring plane, Jan. 28, 2016.
Bright, frosty polar caps, and clouds above a vivid, rust-colored landscape reveal Mars as a dynamic seasonal planet, May 12, 2016.
This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows Trumpler 14, a glittering star cluster that contains a collection of some of the brightest stars seen in our Milky Way galaxy, Jan. 21, 2016.
The full moon rises just before sunset, over western China, June 21, 2016.
An all-sky view of stars in our Galaxy – the Milky Way – and neighboring galaxies, based on the first year of observations from ESA’s Gaia satellite, from July 2014 to Sept. 2015. Released Sept. 14, 2016.
The moon covers the sun, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon, during an annular solar eclipse, seen in Saint-Louis, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on Sept. 1, 2016.
Election Day 2016 aboard the space station. Thanks to a bill passed by Texas legislators that put in place technical voting procedure for astronauts, they have the ability to vote from space through specially designed absentee ballots.
This false-color view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows clouds in Saturn's northern hemisphere, July 20, 2016.
London at midnight, Jan. 30, 2016.
A Wolf–Rayet star, known as WR 31a, located about 30 000 light-years away in the constellation of Carina (The Keel), Feb. 22, 2016.
A maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud, Sept. 5, 2016.
This image combines an image taken with Hubble Space Telescope in the optical (taken in spring 2014) and observations of its auroras in the ultraviolet, taken in 2016.
This image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.
The Milky Way is observed behind a lookout tower near the Hungarian border village of Tachty, or Tajti in Hungarian, Slovakia, Aug. 28, 2016.
An image of the Milky Way, released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy. The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimetre wavelengths.
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to email@example.com. Follow on Facebook