More amazing astronomical eye candy

JISHOU, HUNAN — Phil Plait at Slate.com has compiled the 21 best astronomy images of the year. You have to go see them.

Here’s the Curiosity Mars rover “in country” as it were.

Curiosity rover

Like every tourist everywhere, Curiosity rover takes a photo of itself.

I’m especially partial to surface shots of Mars, because they’re so Earth-like (if Earth’s surface were incredibly dry and icy cold 24/7 and there was no breathable atmosphere). In fact, the background image used for this blog’s nameplate is a sunset on Mars taken by an earlier rover. Bet you thought it was taken on Earth!

This next photo was taken on Earth — Wyoming to be precise. The tall thing at left is Devil’s Tower, which I once flew around while chasing a solar eclipse in 1979 with my boss and my buddy Dave Ansley. That’s the Milky Way (our galaxy) in the sky.

Milky Way and Devil's Tower

A view of the Milky Way from the neighborhood of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

Now go check out the others.

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