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December 1, 2010 Permalink

2010 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

As we find ourselves in December once more, I'd like to present the third annual Hubble Space Telescope imagery Advent Calendar for 2010. Keep checking this page - every day, for the next 25 days, a new photo will be revealed here from the Hubble Space Telescope, some old and some new. This year there is also a temporary RSS feed for the calendar. I continue to feel very fortunate to have been able to share photographs and stories with you all this year, and I wish for a Happy Holiday season to all those who will celebrate, and for Peace on Earth to everyone. - Alan (25 photos total - eventually) [previously: 2008, 2009]

This remarkable picture from the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows one of the most perfect geometrical forms created in space. It captures the formation of an unusual pre-planetary nebula, known as IRAS 23166+1655, around the star LL Pegasi in the constellation of Pegasus. The image shows what appears to be a thin spiral pattern of astonishingly regularity winding around the star, which is itself hidden behind thick dust. The spiral pattern suggests a regular periodic origin for the nebula's shape. The material forming the spiral is moving outwards a speed of about 50 000 km/hour and, by combining this speed with the distance between layers, astronomers calculate that the shells are each separated by about 800 years. The spiral is thought to arise because LL Pegasi is a binary system, with the star that is losing material and a companion star orbiting each other. (ESA/NASA & R. Sahai) More
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

217 comments so far...

Very Nice

Posted by Tosh December 1, 10 10:02 AM

This is beautiful. It's truly stunning. I do radio astronomy, and we really are missing out on these beautiful views--a few blips on a graph are not nearly as pretty as a single good optical shot. I guess I look at some false color radio shots, but those radio shots are usually hideous for some reason.

Posted by Jiminy December 1, 10 10:04 AM

Hubble is awesome. I wish I had such a camera.

Posted by Diederick December 1, 10 10:04 AM

c'mon please. it takes toooo long,i want to see the pictures now;)

Posted by Marcus December 1, 10 10:08 AM

well, the first one is very nice! :P

Posted by John Greencourse December 1, 10 10:11 AM

nice space :)

Posted by Adam Sundana December 1, 10 10:17 AM

To Diederick: Hubble is not a camera.

Posted by Jacobo Orduz December 1, 10 10:21 AM

Too good :) Hubble ..

Wish we had some "HUBBLE" to do the same with the oceans of our beautiful Planet ..Live Curious got Lot to explore

Posted by Spiro-de-noxious December 1, 10 10:39 AM

I agree with Marcus (#4)!!

Posted by Danni December 1, 10 10:45 AM

this is the worst Big Picture ever

Posted by emilio4 December 1, 10 10:50 AM

Its a nice picture but the concept of 1 picture everyday for 25 days. That is so boring.
It looks like all the Boston Big Picture reporters are on a long vacation or they plan to send the fans away.

Posted by thesharma December 1, 10 11:46 AM


Posted by Aiman December 1, 10 11:47 AM

Es que acaso no notan que el editor esta vendiendo publicidad de copos de nieve en las fotos aun faltantes.... (es broma)

Posted by Juanmanuel December 1, 10 11:51 AM

Picture #13 is the BEST!!!

Posted by Sumit December 1, 10 11:55 AM

To Jacobo Orduz: Yes, Hubble is a camera.

There are currently a set of 5 science instruments on board Hubble. (COS, ACS, WFC3, NICMOS, STIS) These instruments have sets of lenses, filters, and a multiple sensors, some of which are quite similar to those in your DSLR camera in technology, while others are very specalized.

But in the end it takes photons of light and converts them to electrical charge that is then read out through amplifiers and run through analog to digital converters and the value placed in memory. The same process as your digital camera.

So yes it is a set of cameras, tailored for their specific wavelength of light, but a set of cameras none the less.

Oh, and I was a software engineer that wrote the code that runs these cameras, so I know of what I speak.

Posted by UmYeahRight December 1, 10 12:01 PM

This is a great idea!!

Posted by Jesse December 1, 10 12:14 PM

lol @ Sumit

Posted by rhythmMAN December 1, 10 12:14 PM

This is a great idea; a new image every day for 25 days. It is certainly something to look forward to. The Hubble images are awsome!!

Posted by Dick December 1, 10 12:22 PM

Number 25 is beautiful,
thanks DeLorean...

Posted by Frank December 1, 10 12:35 PM

Aww, man...not this again. This took way too much time last year. Ha - gotta love the anticipation this cultivates. Totally transforms you into the kid that can't wait to open the present before Christmas day.

Posted by Anonymous December 1, 10 12:56 PM

Can someone please get the God vs. Not debate started? That's the second best part of these advent calendars. :)

Posted by Jeremy December 1, 10 01:11 PM

Wait for the left

Posted by Nameg December 1, 10 01:48 PM

No images? It's December 1. Five more months to go, before you can make fools of us.

Posted by mih December 1, 10 01:51 PM

Don't worry #21, it's coming......but "it HAS to be God" or "it CAN'T have been God" are both absolutes. I want to see someone argue it MIGHT or MIGHT NOT have been God...:-}

Posted by alm December 1, 10 01:59 PM


Posted by Andrew December 1, 10 01:59 PM

The best part of the Hubble photos is that we are now able to see things in space that we could only imagine before. The images are so beautiful, that I think that I can wait for one each day, because we should relish each photo for the treasure that it is. And thank you to #15 for the important information on the Hubble! And...what God vs. Not debate...:)

Posted by Scruffie2 December 1, 10 02:16 PM

I love Hubble! What a pic!

Posted by Nathan Fisher December 1, 10 03:08 PM

This is going to be an amazing series. How can people look up at the night sky and say nothings out there!

Posted by Johnny December 1, 10 03:50 PM

That was a mean tease!

Posted by Smark December 1, 10 04:00 PM

800 years? Did you mean light years?

Posted by Deus December 1, 10 04:37 PM

can't wait :))

Posted by dada December 1, 10 05:46 PM

Are you kidding me? Where are the other pictures????

Posted by Federico Gauffin December 2, 10 12:02 AM

For the last ten years, I have subscribed to the APOD photos, and have always looked forward to the next day. I sense the same anticipation here. As the old song goes, "How often at night / when the heavens are bright / with the light from the Glittering Stars / Have I stood there amazed / and asked as I gazed / If their Glory exceeds that of ours~!"
I live on the prairie of Colorado,,, and I am truly blessed, indeed.
Thank You, to those who have taken the time and trouble to make up this Advent Calendar.
btw, Google "Astronomy Picture of the Day", should you choose to do so.

Posted by EYoung December 2, 10 02:26 AM

Nice to see a website not pandering to the demands of instant gratification so common these days. If all 25 pictures appeared we'd spend a couple of minutes looking at them and move on. Now we have to admire each picture individually and look forward to the next. Which I shall do.

Posted by Ian December 2, 10 03:58 AM

@ Federico (# 32): Are you kidding me? Read the opening, please.

Posted by Raymond December 2, 10 04:16 AM

To UmYeahRight:
According with, from NASA, "The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space-based telescope that was launched in 1990 by the space shuttle. From its position 353 miles (569 km) above Earth’s surface, the HST has expanded our understanding of star birth, star death, and galaxy evolution, and has helped move black holes from theory to fact. In its first 15 years, the telescope recorded over 700,000 images.

Hubble's view is so spectacular because of its location above Earth's atmosphere. Shifting pockets of air distort light from space — that's why stars seem to twinkle when viewed from the ground. Furthermore, the atmosphere blocks some wavelengths of light partially or entirely, making space the only place where it is possible to get a truly clear and comprehensive view of the universe.

Hubble's large mirror collects light from celestial objects and directs it to the telescope's instruments, the astronomer’s eyes to the universe. Hubble's current instruments are the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), and Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS).

These are not the only instruments that have flown aboard Hubble. The telescope was designed to be visited periodically by astronauts, who bring new instruments and technology, and make repairs. Perhaps the most famous of these servicing missions is the first, in 1993. After its 1990 launch, Hubble's primary mirror was discovered to be out of shape on the edges by 1/50 of a human hair. This very small defect made it difficult to focus faint objects being viewed by Hubble. Astronauts installed corrective optics on the telescope, fixing the flawed vision. Four more astronaut visits would follow, each boosting Hubble's observatory capabilities". (

If you can read, Hubble is much more than a camera or a set of cameras: IT'S A TELESCOPE ¿don´t you think, mr, software engineer?

See more amazing pictures here:

Posted by Jacobo Orduz December 2, 10 07:35 AM

If you cannot wait to see each picture a day, then click on 2008 and 2009 above and look at last year's pictures!! :). You can admire them anew while you wait for the new pictures!

Posted by lrao December 2, 10 10:44 AM

Thank you! As a space nerd and a theology nerd, I have bookmarked this right next to my church's daily advent devotional. MY own little advent combination of religion and science. ;-) (I know we all appreciate these in our individual ways - just wanted to share mine.)

Posted by love it December 2, 10 11:53 AM

Ok, listen, it's a telescope AND it's a camera. It's a camera with a telescope attached; a telescope with a camera attached. Can we agree on that much? Let's try to enjoy the advent calendar; it's the right thing to do. :-D

Posted by geosync December 2, 10 12:55 PM

noooooooooooooooo !!!!!!!! 25 days nooooooooo

Posted by henny December 2, 10 01:14 PM

Beautiful. So awesome!!! Especially picutre #15 is so inspiring.

Posted by taco December 2, 10 01:22 PM

Please post photos of road 64, in Noroway. It's beautifil, crosses over 80 bridges and I can find it anyway on Net...

Posted by rita December 2, 10 03:54 PM

I dont care about the God/not God debate: More of the great telescope/camera argument!

Love the ethereal feel of no. 2 - *right clicks > sets as background*

Posted by Laurie December 2, 10 04:00 PM

25 days... I cry...

Posted by michael December 2, 10 04:13 PM

Laurie wants more telescope/camera arguments? Okey-doke :-)

I helped design and build parts for every Scientific Instrument (SI) currently on board Hubble, which technically speaking is an orbiting spacecraft, IOW, a conglomeration of various subsystems.

The telescope (primary/secondary mirrors etc.) is but one of the subsystems, albeit the most important one, of course. Some other main subsystems are the power and power control systems (batteries, solar panels, etc.), the pointing and alignment systems (gyros, reaction wheels, sun sensors, etc.), the telescope's thermal control system (separate from individual SI's thermal controls systems), the main computer and data storage systems.....I could go on, but you get the point (I hope!).

The SI's that produce those wonderful images are self contained "plug'n'play" subsystems of the spacecraft. The Axial SI's (NICMOS, ACS, COS, and STIS) are roughly phone booth sized and mount in the Aft Shroud along the main axis of the telescope. WFC3 is a radial SI, meaning it's optical path comes into it perpendicular to the telescope's axis via a "pick off mirror".

Now here comes the tricky part.....from a technical point of view, what takes the images are "detectors", not "cameras", although I guess in layman's terms one could use either interchangeably - they detect and collect photons emitted from matter in various wavelengths, from infrared through the visible spectrum and up into ultraviolet.

What is actually captured and downloaded to the Space Science Institute in Baltimore for processing are digital 0's and 1's, and initially converted to images in a gray scale. If you've ever seen an un-enhanced image you wouldn't be very impressed unless you were one of the scientists doing an investigation or study - they're not very pretty, trust me!

Powerful post-processing software assigns various wavelengths specific colors, producing those BEAUTIFUL images so us common folk can make some kind of sense of what we're seeing. These images are not pictures or photos like your digital camera captures, which are "snapshots" taken in a fraction of a second, because Hubble's images consist of data collected over many, many orbits and thousands of seconds (even hours and days in some cases) of observation time.

Hope that clears up some confusion....or keeps the debate going :-)

Posted by Indigo December 2, 10 06:21 PM


Posted by ALARA December 2, 10 11:00 PM

I like 23 most!

Posted by December 3, 10 02:55 AM

very good, but don't forget that it is not Advent (Winter Solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere ... we are celebrating the Summer Solstice here - the opposite of Advent: perhaps storied as the great Omega or Fulfilment. Your photos could be just as appropriate - the universe is alway doing both kinds of events: could be more about radiance and energy than snow and ice though in background graphics - acknowledging both aspects of the Solstice Moment @ EarthGaia.

Posted by Glenys Livingstone December 3, 10 04:10 AM

This is Sign of Allah. Allah is genius

Posted by Ali December 3, 10 05:10 AM

This will be one of the most commented entry on BIGPICTURE :P

Posted by MK December 3, 10 06:08 AM

I hate Advent calendars.

Posted by anr December 3, 10 06:21 AM

Number 3 caused quite a stir earlier this year when the photo was originally released. If you look at it closely, it kind of resembles a spaceship. It's not but it sure looks like one

Posted by CCWW December 3, 10 09:31 AM

these are the best pics i have ever seen

Posted by huba luba December 3, 10 11:03 AM

nice resolution by #39 @geosync, otherwise @Jacobo and @UmYeahRight would have fought and fought :P.
And yes indeed this would be the most commented post on big picture.
btw, awesome pictures till now but that's a lot of patience you're asking bigpicture.

Posted by ams December 3, 10 01:26 PM

Thank you Mr. Taylor and Boston Globe
You are going to give us a real treasure as a gift at this holidays
Have a Merry Christmas

Posted by Luis Chinchilla (Guatemala, City, Central America) December 3, 10 11:26 PM

I think that the best is the number 6.. just wonderful!! jaja .. i don´t like this kind of calendars

Posted by Carlos December 4, 10 07:40 AM

Absolutely incredible! If you believe in God, it must be humbling to know she has better things to do than look after a tiny speck of dust bent on destroying itself.

Posted by Kenn Nilsen December 4, 10 08:54 AM

里面的coming soon是神马意思?槑有足够的图片就不要发出来撒

Posted by flz December 4, 10 08:59 AM

IF not God, then what.

Posted by Jim La Belle December 4, 10 01:30 PM

The Best calendar .... in the world :-)

Posted by Olli December 4, 10 05:11 PM

Pax. Lux. Deus.

Posted by Ray B. December 4, 10 07:41 PM

I want these pictures for my living room, so I remember the majesty beyond our little war torn life. When the apocalype comes nothing in the wider views of existence will change. Thank God

Posted by hammerhead December 4, 10 07:57 PM

Patience grasshoppers... Patience ;)

Posted by Justin December 4, 10 08:13 PM


Posted by bshimin December 5, 10 12:57 AM


Posted by Jennifer December 6, 10 12:36 AM

Never ever ever seen a more beautiful Advent caledar. Even beats the chocolate filled ones I used to give my children.Heartfelt thanks from an also very beautiful and ( unsually) snow-filled Ireland! Pat

Posted by Pat Coyle December 6, 10 10:37 AM


Posted by tgq December 6, 10 10:54 AM

How small we, humans, are among these giants in space.

Posted by s h a w December 6, 10 03:42 PM

The four lines beaming from every bright star are artifacts coming from the four supports holding the secondary mirror in place in the telescope.

This makes #5 extra interesting. Some astronomers took their time rotating Hubble near perfectly axis-aligned to the already mirror symmetrical Red rectangle.

Posted by BGE December 6, 10 08:09 PM

Csak örüljetek, hogy ilyen csodát láthattok.A képek gyönyörűk. Köszönöm,

Posted by Bolváriné Riss Anikó SZEKSZÁRD December 7, 10 03:34 AM

ma io vedo fino alla foto n 5....
poi il nulla cosmico ...

Posted by tosca December 7, 10 09:29 AM

Please people, stop giving "god" credit for these breathtaking scenes.

Posted by Zo December 7, 10 04:14 PM

'God' IS the Universe.

Posted by Bill December 7, 10 06:06 PM


Posted by WAQAR MAJEED-Karachi, Pakistan. December 7, 10 11:32 PM

Amazing!! #2 looks right out of a sci-fi book - but it's NOT fi - it's real!! And #6 is perhaps the most beautiful photo I have ever seen. How to see this and NOT be awed by God? WOW!!

Posted by Knittinjen December 8, 10 02:21 AM

Oh yes my alltime favorite series is back.
Thanks a lot for these amazing pictures and the detailed explanations

Posted by Joff December 8, 10 04:59 AM

These are absolutely stunning pictures! I can't wait to see the rest...

Posted by Lisa December 8, 10 08:22 AM

# 4 makes me feel very, very small and insignificant.

Posted by Fiona December 8, 10 10:57 AM


Posted by szasa December 8, 10 02:36 PM

Am I the only one to see a dog in the brown cloud of #8 ? Like, a long dog walking like a human toward the lower left corner of the pic, looking at its up right... Anyway, those pics are great for day-dreaming !

Posted by Jhon December 8, 10 03:55 PM

These pictures really make me wonder, "What is looking back at us?"

Posted by Dakota Legend December 8, 10 06:41 PM

"Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but most people do not know" (Quran 40:57)

Posted by Ali December 9, 10 12:20 AM

God created the universe is a great

Posted by jehad December 9, 10 01:30 AM


Posted by Anonymous December 9, 10 08:43 AM

Spectacular images. I wonder if we will ever be able to travel beyond our solar system... Please put at least two images a day! :)

Posted by Guillermo December 9, 10 09:16 AM


Posted by Chalya McKay December 9, 10 12:57 PM

AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by cian December 9, 10 02:20 PM

Hard to believe all those galaxies in 9. Hard to believe there aren't millions of other life forms throughout our universe. I love how these shots show the expansiveness of space and how little we know. Truly amazing.

Posted by Smark December 9, 10 04:08 PM

Glenys Livingstone says: "very good, but don't forget that it is not Advent (Winter Solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere ... we are celebrating the Summer Solstice here - the opposite of Advent".

Actually, it really is Advent in the southern hemisphere; "Advent" is actually part of the Christian Church calendar, and it's the lead-in to Christmas. It is a celebration of the advent of Christ. So if you're a Christian, it's Advent everywhere, and it ends *after* the Solstice.

Your clue could be that the Solstice occurs on the 21st, but Advent doesn't end until Christmas Day, December 25. Christmas is celebrated at basically the same time by Christians* worldwide.

* Some non-Christians celebrate a sort of secular Christmas as well. I have no problem with this; just about any excuse for a party is a good one as far as I'm concerned. ;-)

Posted by Calli Arcale December 9, 10 04:45 PM

Ali Comment 82 - wow, I'm Christian and have never read the Quran (though it is VERY beautiful to hear it read aloud!!) so thanks for sharing that verse, so true - so great!!

Posted by Knittinjen December 10, 10 01:08 AM

#9 is great

Posted by Thiago T December 10, 10 11:22 AM

It is impossible to believe that the god who created the galaxies in these images is the same one who cares whether you worship him or not. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by johnnydeep December 10, 10 02:51 PM

APOD has a much nicer colouring of the Orion Nebula (#10)...

Posted by Lee J Haywood December 10, 10 06:04 PM

all that in just 6 days!!! Why that's just ... miraculous!

Posted by StanG December 11, 10 04:33 AM

wouah ! speechless ...

Posted by Dom Chabrières December 11, 10 01:31 PM
Posted by thanawat December 12, 10 02:35 PM


Posted by Anonymous December 13, 10 03:31 AM

The pics at the top are starting to feel like old friends, upon repeated viewings each day... :)

Posted by love it December 14, 10 10:50 AM

But my mind so small; Help, Dear Creator of it all.

Posted by V. Rollings December 14, 10 01:37 PM

omg these r sooo AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) God is amazing :P

Posted by XD XD December 14, 10 08:21 PM


Posted by Anonymous December 14, 10 10:21 PM

Gyönyörű képek!
Beautiful pictures!

Posted by jgyula December 15, 10 04:15 AM

What a weird and a wonderful universe we live in! The first picture still amazes me, even after seeing it 15 days in a row!

Is anyone still impressed by Moses' burning bush?

Posted by J. R. Braden December 15, 10 09:23 AM

love this!!!!

Posted by taylor December 16, 10 11:20 AM

Can anyone tell me,
why is the universe so beautiful?

Posted by galapagos December 16, 10 11:31 AM

To 15 [Jacobo Orduz] Lucky man! How much I envy you to have the knowledge and such an opportunity to be part of that fantastic project.
Please, make sure that no petty official decides to withdraw the finances from our "beloved" Hubble telescope [as it that nearly happened some years ago.]
A big Thanks to you and the entire team, for your work, which gives us so much pleasure now.

Posted by Ank December 16, 10 11:40 AM

"For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." Psalm 19.
These awesome pictures make me ask the question "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalm 8:4.
The answer is: The same God almighty "so loved the world (us) that he gave His one and only Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Thanks be to God.

Posted by Dr. and Mrs. Samuel December 16, 10 05:47 PM

Omg !!!! Its beautiful !!!
Omg Omg !!!! i love this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous December 17, 10 07:58 AM

Waaw icredible ! :0

Posted by Scarla December 17, 10 08:00 AM

Beautiful Pictures I love

Posted by Alexis December 17, 10 08:02 AM

The picturses take by Hubble are very extraodinary ! I love it.

Posted by Christophe N December 17, 10 08:10 AM

The picturses take by Hubble are very extraodinary ! I love it.

Posted by Christophe N December 17, 10 08:12 AM

It's verryyyyyy beautiful !!! But we can't understand what is it. But I love !!

Posted by Spartacus December 17, 10 08:21 AM

oh it's beautiful =O i like this fotos

Posted by Julayyy December 17, 10 08:23 AM

It's very beautiful.
It's so good.
I love this pictures.

Posted by Erwan December 17, 10 09:12 AM

allah is very great
allah is the only one can creat this buty

Posted by ghazal December 17, 10 12:16 PM

Why is it that these marvels of science which are not predicted or included in any religious text are magnets for some of the most mindless religious chanting imaginable? Sorry, guys, but 'allah' is not 'ackbar'. The natural universe is 'ackbar'; very, very 'ackbar'.

Posted by J. R. Braden December 17, 10 04:43 PM

All of these photos are absolutely Stunning. Tahnks for showcasing them.

Posted by EricWardTile December 17, 10 06:16 PM

those are amazing pictures!!!!!!

Posted by mitch December 18, 10 05:11 PM

I can only say "WUNDERBAR"

Posted by Hans Munch December 18, 10 07:40 PM


Posted by NEVILLE GRIFFITHS December 19, 10 12:43 AM

I'm one more person who finds these pictures stunning - beautiful - and above all, forcing one to face the magic of our own human scale and world, situated somewhere above the mysteries of the quantum and the quark, and well below those of the universe as a whole. Clearly we each resonate to these images differently, based, it seems, on our cultural upbringing and, no doubt, on our access to information. Perhaps eventually we will all resonate in the same key?? (Thanks to those who have made technical comments, which have given me a greater appreciation of how these were made!)

Posted by Steve Kistler December 19, 10 10:34 AM

#121 you are right and I think we can name picture #19 as' THE EYE OF GOD" . All pictures are amazing and in the same time educational. Thank you for posting them.

Posted by Violeta December 19, 10 10:43 AM

I love #19. "The Eye in the Sky"

Posted by StockC December 19, 10 11:04 AM

i thik the pictures are really good and im happy that nasa repaired hubble

Posted by mali weitzman December 19, 10 11:25 AM

god in his infanite wisdom is making these images availiable for us to be educated! we have come a long way thinkig that the earth is flat!! wasnt it only about 400 years ago? where are we going to be in the next 400 years???

Posted by phillip may December 19, 10 12:14 PM

I'm glad others noticed that #19 was an "eye". The write-up said nothing about it looking like an eye...This is fantastic!

Posted by Pat December 19, 10 03:37 PM

I always wanted to be an astronomer. Now, you can buy a telescope with a build-in program to read over 200 stars and nebula. Just punch in the area you want to see, and the scope moves automatically.

Posted by David Lobato December 19, 10 03:46 PM

I was a ramp-rat at Butler Aviation in Boston. I always wondered what was up there. Until I met one of the astronauts, I assumed we had positive
purpose for space exploration. He told me there ain't nothing out there.
I don't know, I ain't that curious. Old Ironsides means more to me than
a crab -nebula lost in space. Only one mans opinion. Maybe I don't get it ,sorry.

Posted by S.S.Pelkey December 19, 10 06:00 PM

No god ever invented by humans would have the imagination to create the wonderous Universe we see out there.

Therefore, the Universe does not exist. ;)

Posted by Little25Victor December 19, 10 06:09 PM

This is beautiful, without words!!!!!!!
If God do not exist like some people refuse belive, who else can made this?
Of course God the only One.

Posted by Lucia Vergara December 20, 10 01:22 AM

It's scary...VERY scary...that's for sure!!

Posted by ALVARO December 20, 10 01:31 AM

Inspirational for this earthbound human who cannot comprehend the vastness of the universe!

Posted by Barb Stevens December 20, 10 03:04 AM

Nasa should make a 365 day screensaver with a new hubble picture every day.

Posted by Roeland Geys December 20, 10 08:15 AM

lvly pic ...thax fo this !

Posted by pragyan December 20, 10 12:26 PM

Is the first link 51 Pegasi b baralofom going Super???

Posted by Dan Starling December 21, 10 12:09 AM

To all petty and silly ones out there; once more > god is an invention of man, NOT the other way around.
Put your mind to (human) history and some filosophy and you shall see the light, so to speak. Wake up.

Posted by Wiel December 21, 10 03:14 AM

这些照片都很震撼, 非常喜欢!

Posted by 太岁 December 21, 10 04:11 AM

I should stop coming here checking the pic of the day; every time I wish I could just jump in a space shuttle and go wandering through all those stars, rings, gallaxies...

Posted by Jhon December 21, 10 07:36 AM

To 137:
filosophy > philosophy.

Posted by galapagos December 21, 10 10:28 AM

To 137: You can read all the books you want (including Bible) and fill your mind with history or "filosophy" but one thing is sure, you can't explain God and you never will. I cannot prove you that God exist because is (obviously) something you can’t touch or see, like the air, but is right there in front of your nose. Did you know that "Love" is something that has not been scientifically proved? I remember that some scientists from some university (Stockholm..I think) tried to prove it a couple of years ago but they couldn’t, although they did found (scientifically) HATE. Funny.

By the way, last day I saw an article here in Germany and said that some scientist discovered that the chemicals or particles in the rings of Saturn developed a HUGE part in the evolution of men’s teeth….

Amazing, ah?

Can YOU prove it?

Greetings from Berlin
Bastian S.

Posted by Bastian December 21, 10 06:47 PM

οπως γεννηθηκε ο χριστιανισμος ή ο μουσουλμανισμος και εσβυσε η βαλχαλα και το 12θεο των ελληνων, πολλες θρησκειες θα γεννηθουν στο μελλον!
Προσωπικα θαυμαζω το μεγεθος του απειρως μεγαλου που μπορω και παρατηρω εξ αιτιας της ικανοτητας των ανθρωπων να κατασκευαζουν μηχανηματα.
Δεν ξερω σε ποιον να πω μπραβο για την χαρα που μου δινετε με τις εικονες σας

Posted by don way December 21, 10 10:01 PM

Let's not forget that Man -not God- developed the Hubble Telescope, the Space Shuttle, and the Particle Accelerator. Man is capable of these and other brilliant inventions. Explaining anything you are not familiar with as 'the Work of God' doesn't help in our understanding of life mysteries.

Posted by Dieter December 22, 10 02:20 AM

Generally, the majority of stars you see in the night sky are within a few thousand light years of our own Sun, these located in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Put this in perspective that these stars are but a few of the 200 billion that make up the rest of our home galaxy. Feel insignificant yet? If not, counting to 200 billion would take you over 3000 years!

Now, consider this further in scale that our galaxy is one of 80 billion galaxies making up the observable universe. Our Milky way is 100 000 light years in diameter, measly when compared to the current estimated diameter of the universe at 93 billion light years.

If all this is the product of creation by some higher being, it is a cruel joke that Man and Earth were made so very very small, a truly insignificant speck in the MUCH grander scheme of things.

Posted by Connor December 22, 10 05:06 AM

Thanks for posting these amazing photos, must be the best advent calendar ever

Posted by matthew December 22, 10 06:16 AM

Thank you Big Picture for helping me stretch my mind, and of course, another installment of amazing photos:)

"A sad spectacle. If they [the stars] be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. It they be not inhabited, what a waste of space" Thomas Carlyle

Posted by Enceledus December 22, 10 10:21 AM

Hubble and the pictures look so unreal, thanks for sharing, amazing
I wish people would leave all religios comments at home
This is space at its best

Posted by Barbara Danielson December 22, 10 11:27 AM

Verbazingwekkende foto's, geweldig mooi.
Groet uit Holland.

Posted by Jan December 22, 10 12:40 PM

Soooo beautiful. Put on some dramatic music while looking at these & it'll give you shivers :)
Thank you for sharing them with viewers :)

Posted by Alison December 23, 10 01:22 AM

what a wonderful,spectacular and great creation of god

Posted by Anonymous December 23, 10 05:40 AM

The universe created God.

Posted by Johnny December 23, 10 11:45 AM

真是太漂亮了...24 25什么时候出来啊...

Posted by required December 23, 10 07:32 PM

if this is the world, I want to get off.

Posted by Amanda Martinez December 23, 10 08:33 PM

I have been loving checking this every day. Amazing stuff.

I, for one am going to refrain from propounding or denigrating any kind of religious beliefs right now, and just say WOW, what an amazing universe this is. It makes me glad to be alive.

Once again,, thank you so much. This blog is a public service that you provide.

Posted by Paul Leach December 24, 10 05:03 AM

And here we are, worrying about taxes, wars, making money...

I feel smaller than ever.

Posted by John Cranston December 24, 10 12:42 PM

Замечательный наш мир. Весь год смотрел на половину этих снимков на своих рабочих столах, оказалось это не компьютерная графика, очень удивлен

Posted by Michael Karpitsky December 24, 10 01:24 PM

If not GOD then what?

Posted by Robert Ball December 24, 10 08:40 PM

#25 was worth the wait and is really breathtaking. Thank you so much Alan for your blog in general, and for your interest in space matters especially.

Happy New Year to you and to all passengers of our spaceship, speeding around the sun at 60.000 mph.

Posted by Yogi December 25, 10 04:49 AM

Thank you Alan for putting this together. I've been following this eagerly every morning the entire month, and it really has made december substantially better for me :) we're all star dust.

Posted by Arash Arfazadeh December 25, 10 06:50 AM

#19 looks like the eye of God watching us. beauty in the eye of the beholder
thanks for all these great pictures

Posted by Diana December 25, 10 07:22 AM

Thank you. Happy New Year.

Posted by Eugene, Oregon December 25, 10 08:46 AM

Thank you.

Posted by adeamus December 25, 10 08:46 AM

No God but what we make.

Excellent as always.

Thankk you big picture.

Peice to all.

Posted by Bria December 25, 10 09:50 AM

Upeita kuvia maailmankaikkeudesta
Hyvää Uutta Vuotta

Posted by Tapio December 25, 10 10:40 AM

Thank you Alan, wonderful images.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.

Posted by gio December 25, 10 11:47 AM

great!!! merry christmas from vienna, moxtra

Posted by mike December 25, 10 12:13 PM

Y aún hay algún ingenuo que piensa que estamos solos en este mundo?

Posted by Israel December 25, 10 12:15 PM

Merry Christmas, everyone, as well as Happy Hannukah, Kwaanza, Boxing Day, and New Year! Sol Invictus! May the world of 2011 be blessed with those old standbys, peace love and understanding. I still haven't figured out what's so bad about them....

Thanks to Alan and everyone who contributed to this year's Big Pictures. I love this site and recommend it often to students and fellow teachers.

"There is no justice. There's just us." -- Terry Pratchett

Posted by Sam December 25, 10 12:22 PM

Piekne i przerazajaace sa te zdjecia ale i tak piekne wrzechswiat .... dobrze ze jest taka strona -:)

Posted by Andrzej December 25, 10 01:30 PM

Makes me think again what Universe and Infinity mean.

Posted by IAS December 25, 10 10:03 PM

The universe is magnificent.

Posted by amye December 26, 10 02:19 AM


Thank you so much for having put this advent calendar together; it's been a treat looking at each new picture every day. I can't pick one favourite; every time I think I've got one I see another and change my mind. This has been a great, unexpected Christmas present.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted by Pamela Young December 26, 10 09:58 AM

Nice image for the 25th.

Posted by Anonymous December 26, 10 10:03 AM

Thanks Alan. Truly amazing.

Posted by Lauren December 26, 10 02:45 PM

I Love That "Eye of God" Pic. It's so Beautiful and it looks like a very loving eye (but I think He has two eyes, ha ha.) But seriously, No One can look at this and deny that there is a God! Romans 1:20-25.
Now I know why there is an eternity. Because we could never see all of this in one lifetime. But if we spend eternity with Him we could. I believe this verse sums it up: Eye has not seen nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."1 Corinthians 2:9. Merry Christmas, Peace on earth.

Thank You for this Advent Calendar Alan. God has truly blessed you to preach the gospel with pictures of His Universe.

Posted by K.O. Robinson December 27, 10 01:52 AM

I wish I could travel to the galaxies at millions light-year away, in less than a minute...

Posted by I wish December 27, 10 03:33 AM

Amazing Images. I really enjoyed the daily publication.

Posted by Guillermo December 27, 10 09:44 AM

Man, astrophotography always brings out the crazies. Bastion, #141, is beyond help.

If not GOD then what?

--Robert Ball

Top minds are working on that. It takes alot of training and mental effort to figure these things out and none of the people engaged in that work know the answer yet. Most of them understand the only honest answer is a shrug of the shoulders. Isn't the universe wonderful enough as it exists, until an explanation is revealed? It's certainly more wonderful than the make-believe we try to prop it up with, like GOD or ALLAH or quantum consciousness or whatever else people make up.

For the sake of argument, let's say your god lovingly crafted all the galaxies and all the varied combinations of matter, up to the complexity of life. Logically, that implies that as much loving care went into child rapists and suicide bombers and ravenous parasites as went toward these big spinning clouds of stars, gas and dust. That gas and dust and empty space is absolutely hostile to life as we know it, by the way, which also means that if god put us here in just the way he wanted, we are prisoners, given a cruelly tempting view.

Knowing this, why don't you spend some time on an Afghan war thread and thank jesus or allah for the strife in that region? Go to one of the series on the Bhopal disaster and tell everyone there how wonderful and awesome your god is for so wisely incorporating such suffering into those people's lives.

I know in advance you won't and your intellectual dishonesty is disgusting.

Posted by cgauthier December 27, 10 11:49 AM

Thank you Alan!
I loved this. i will be back next december for more.

Posted by Mrs. Higgins December 27, 10 01:30 PM


Posted by GLEN December 27, 10 03:25 PM

"Why is it that these marvels of science which are not predicted or included in any religious text are magnets for some of the most mindless religious chanting imaginable?"

Yes, another potentially fertile landscape of comments has again turned into a barren field of religious blather.

Posted by Duffy Toler December 27, 10 03:50 PM

I wonder when mankind will advance to the point when we will stop trying to give credit to a 'god' that doesn't exist?

Posted by TMonkey December 27, 10 05:14 PM


Posted by yulians December 27, 10 09:19 PM

To #182:
How do you know that God doesn't exist? Can you prove your statement?

Posted by Lucky December 27, 10 10:11 PM

To #178:
It's funny how people blame God for all evil in this world. It proves that they never read the Bible, yet all love to issue decrees like "there is no God", or say that no good God would create such evil.
All of God's creation was good! Creation got corrupted at one point in history if one cares to research. Now, God has come up with a solution to cure the evil. It is available to anyone who wants it. And when time is up, all creation will be restored to its original state: perfect and good.


Posted by Lucky December 27, 10 10:24 PM

now i believe There's a life beyond the earth and there's no god in this universe.

Posted by syarif December 27, 10 11:20 PM

5 Billion light years away (in #18)'s hard to comprehend just how big the universe is.

How people can believe that we are the only intelligent life form in the universe with all these stars & galaxies is just ridiculous. Intelligent life forms may not be in every galaxy or around every star, but with so many stars & galaxies there has to be many many opportunities for life out there.

WOW!! is about all I can say.

Posted by Greg December 28, 10 06:19 AM

After viewing these photos, why would anyone want to put a god in the picture. Doing so makes these photos so much smaller and so parochial, it doesn't add to them, it diminishes them, it takes away from them.

Posted by Graham Martin-Royle December 28, 10 06:58 AM

Tyhle vesmírné obrázky mě jen utvrzují v ateismu, v tomhle nekonečným prostoru prostě nemůže existovat žádný bůh, je to jen vymyšlená berlička pro slabochy.

Posted by Paia December 28, 10 12:13 PM

Love the pictures! Love the comments! Love the lack of spell check use!

Posted by Alex C. December 28, 10 01:54 PM

You could not make this up! Are we really alone? How could we be?

Posted by Alan Kenney December 28, 10 02:07 PM

Thank you! I have enjoyed this thoroughly.

Posted by Nancy Spivey December 28, 10 08:21 PM

Thank you for this site. It will live on my Favorites forever!

Posted by James E Brough December 29, 10 09:09 AM

Thank you so much for doing this! I looked forward to it every day. and posted several as my desktop during the month. I only read the comments for the deity is an Advent calendar after all. God(dess) is.

Posted by Judy December 29, 10 01:43 PM

Amazing thank you for sharing your images with me and my daughter we thought that it was amazing I love astronomy and look forward to seeing more images. Peace and Love

Posted by Garret December 29, 10 02:14 PM

Breathtaking, inspiring, humbling....

Posted by Debra December 29, 10 03:49 PM

beautiful (L)

Posted by Jacky December 29, 10 10:52 PM

OMG We had no idea....

Posted by hammerhead December 31, 10 05:45 AM

Like a pebble thrown into the cosmic waters...

Posted by Rudy December 31, 10 08:13 AM


Posted by JIM ISIL December 31, 10 08:31 AM

What a debt we owe not only to the desgners and makers but also to the brave and dedicated astronaut servicers of the HST.

Posted by DJJ December 31, 10 04:29 PM

After years of astronomy I am just starting to understand (or imagine) the science and distances involved and it stretches my mind. Hubble and all the people involved have given all of us sights and insights to where and how we exist and for this they have my deepest appreciation and thanks: so why don't you "believers" and "non-believers" back of, leave your rantings out of it all, and simply enjoy the sights and knowledge provided.
Once again; thank all you Hubble staff for sharing.

Posted by Terence January 1, 11 12:33 AM

If only all Humans species on our -planet could observe what you have shared so generously with us about the beauties and immensity of the infinite Space, this, calculated in ions of light years away , maybe it could help to calm down our agressivity coming from our Nature as Human beings and would bring Peace in between ourselves and conscience as Humans species, knowing that we are so small, a tiny atom of life in the immensity of the infinite Space and that in time and future discovering the unknown through our brilliant Scientists and with our technologies in constant developments for to be. Merci-thank you

Posted by Lucien Alexandre Marion January 1, 11 10:41 PM

These images are absolutely astounding. What a pivilage to be able to view and contemplate them. Thank you!!

To number 182, I agree and I believe that it will happen but I also believe that unfortunately it will be a long long time befor it does..

Posted by Dick January 5, 11 02:25 PM

Thank you very much for the pictures.

I think the reason why the universe is so beautiful is that it was made by God. :)

Posted by Monica January 8, 11 08:34 AM

Speaking just for myself, Hubble's eyes help me see things I could not otherwise see and understand things I could not otherwise understand. They also show me a good deal that I don't understand, and I kind of like it that way. Does it enable me to prove or disprove the existence of a God? No, and I'm not greatly bothered. If it answers that question for you, more power to you.

Posted by Peter January 9, 11 01:55 PM

Thank you Boston Globe.

These images are absolutely amazing.

How small we are !.

Posted by cavaco January 9, 11 04:49 PM

Science 1 - 0 Religion

Posted by UnexpectedGuest January 11, 11 05:46 AM

For the atheist have a look at shot 6. What face do you see?

Posted by Santo January 17, 11 06:03 PM

God is God and doesn't have an equivalent, couldn't be compere to any thing. God is perfection that doesn't exist in our world.In our world every perfection is a perfection for a group of individuals, but for the individuals out of that group it isn't a perfection and could be changed anytime and compere to something else. God is pure gold perfection out of our imagination. God is a kind of information over the material world and rules of the outer world.
God was created first as a religion figure thousands of years ago.The easiest way for explanation what is happening.During the time, people changed, life changed, but church keeps the old story which does not work anymore but there are fanatics who does not understand that every thing has his own time and meaning.
There is a power + energy + information = love,that keeps us together and if we are willing to "surrender" to that love, think positively and try not to pull each other eyes, our world would be better place to live.
All pictures are beautiful. Thank you Allen!

Posted by violeta January 26, 11 12:46 PM


Posted by Anonymous February 4, 11 11:19 PM

Thank you Alan for this great selection. Spent one hour of pure pleasure. :-)

Posted by ivan February 22, 11 11:42 PM

I agree with number 116 and i quote 116
"Allah is very great
allah is the only one can creat this buty "

Posted by Anas February 26, 11 01:42 PM

Let's not forget that Man -not God- developed the Hubble Telescope, the Space Shuttle, and the Particle Accelerator. Man is capable of these and other brilliant inventions. Explaining anything you are not familiar with as 'the Work of God' doesn't help in our understanding of life mysteries.
Posted by Dieter December 22, 2010 02:20 AM "

This what Mr.Dieter said , well ,can he do something like that ? no , because he doesn't know 1% of that universe , neither scientists , let me remind you , that the Titanic ship maker said that he made a ship that will not sink , but it did in it's first journey . The Challenger ( the space shuttle ) exploded after about 1 minute from it's taking off . If man can barley reach the space , how could he make one ?!!

Posted by Anas February 26, 11 01:51 PM

luv these pics :) sooo pretty :P

Posted by faithlover March 22, 11 11:16 PM

What face do I see? for shot 6? I don't see a face, I see a result, a result of the beauty and elegance physics and chemistry.

Posted by Conor April 1, 11 11:50 AM


wonder y people r shunning each others religious comments .. if people want to credit everything to God/ Allah, so be it... its their personal opinion...( though personally even i feel it's annoying )

Thank You for the pics...

Posted by leena , dominic April 18, 11 06:15 AM
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