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20 Stunning Space Images of 2020

2020 was a big year for space.

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We saw close-up pictures of asteroids, history-making rocket launches, beautiful planetary nebula, and more.

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Here are 20 of the coolest space images of 2020.

20. Here's what 7 years on Mars will do to a rover. This image shows NASA's Curiosity rover at the beginning of its mission versus now, seven years later.NASA

NASA

19. Images of Arrakoth, a Kuiper Belt Object orbiting 4 billion miles from Earth, helped scientists understand how this strange object formed.

NASA

18. NASA's Juno spacecraft illuminates bright streaks of haze in Jupiter's atmosphere.

17. Hubble highlighted two vast planetary nebulae in this photo, NGC 2014 (red) and NGC 2020 (blue). Both nebulae are part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, 163,000 lightyears away.NASA/ESA

NASA/ESA

16. As it approached the Sun in April, comet ATLAS disintegrated. Hubble captured this image of the comet's pieces.

JAXA/U. Tokyo/Kochi U./Rikkyo U./Nagoya U./Chiba Inst. Tech./Meiji U./U. Aizu/AIST

15. The Japanese Space Agency collected samples from an asteroid in 2020. Here's a close-up image of the asteroid Ryugu as the Hayabusa2 spacecraft descended.

14. On May 31st, SpaceX's Crew Dragon successfully docked with the International Space Station — carrying the first crew to fly on a commercial spacecraft.

NASA/SpaceX

NASA/ESA

13. Hubble snapped this picture of a glittery galaxy, KK 246, resides in a region of empty space called the Local Void.

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

12. People in Central Africa, the Southern Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, Northern India, and South Central China got to enjoy a total solar eclipse in June.

NASA

11. Astronauts on the International Space Station captured this picture of the aurora borealis shimmering over the Indian Ocean.

10. Saturn, in all its glory, and two of its tiny moons, captured by Hubble.NASA/ESA

NASA

9. NASA launched the Mars rover Perseverance on July 30.

NASA, ESA, and E. Wheatley (STScI)

8. The Andromeda Galaxy's halo stretches so far that it's actually bumping into the Milky Way.

7. A crisp view of Jupiter and its ocean moon Europa, captured by Hubble.NASA/ESA

NASA/ESA

6. This Hubble images shows off the NGC 5643 galaxy in the Lupus constellation.

NASA

5. In October, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission punched the asteroid Bennu to kick up rocks and dust. The craft will bring the material back to Earth.

NSO/AURA/NSF

4. No, this isn't the Eye of Sauron. It's the most detailed image of a sunspot ever taken.

ESA/Gaia/DPAC

3. This illustration shows how 40,000 stars in the Milky Way will move across the sky in the next 400,000 years.

SpaceX

2. On December 7, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off for its 100th successful launch.

1. A complete X-ray map of the galaxy was completed earlier this year.MPE/IKI

Read more space stories here.

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