These images are taken from Phil Plait’s recent selection of a handful of particularly stunning astronomical photographs captured in the year 2012 by the Hubble space telescope and similar instruments.
Sharpless 2-106 star (Hubble)
the M78 cloud (APEX)
Carina Nebula (VLT Survey Telescope)
30 Doradus (Hubble)
the transit of Venus before the sun, 5 June 2012 (see also the critically important essay “On the Transit of Venus and Human Civilization” by ecosocialist Quincy Saul written to mark the occasion)
the NGC 5033 spiral galaxy (Schulman Telescope)