NASA's most beautiful images of space

Take stock and recharge your sense of proportion. It's good for your soul. Even when you're in the fiery pits of a deadline and your coffee-swilling Creative Director is baying for blood, it pays to remember your place in the celestial order of things.

We're tiny, and the Earth is, let's be honest, dwarfed by most of everything in the known universe.

The universe is also making works of art that, may just be, prettier that the stuff you're working on. If not prettier, it's work will probably have more far-reaching consequences than your efforts. And if not more consequential, the products the universe is making have, at least, stood the test of time (depending upon your vantage and velocity).

So, here are five images from space - made by NASA - that should help you find peace, and a put your day in proportion. And if they don't, they're beautiful nonetheless.

01. The final frontier

This images looks like a psychedelic still taken from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In reality the red arc is actually a giant shockwave created by a speed star called Kappa Cassiopeiae.

Download a hi-res TIFF

02. How the sun shines

This image shows x-rays steaming off the sun. The blue and green streams are actually visualisations that have been overlaid on picture taken by a telescope.

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03. When galaxies collide

This amazing light show was created when two spiral galaxies had a grazing encounter. The images was created by combining images captured by two different telescopes, each designed see different things.

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04. Where stars are born

This is W3, a huge stellar nursery that's about 6,200 light-years away. It's situated in one of the Milky Way galaxy's main spiral arms, called the Perseus Arm. Look closely at the downloadable TIFF and you'll see yellow and blue dots in the red filaments. These are young stars.

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05. Darkness seldom seen

This amazing view of Saturn was taken in the planet's shadow, with The sun's rays backlighting the famous rings. It was taken by the Cassini Orbiter and is both rare and precious. The last time Cassini was in a position to take such an image was 2006.

Download a hi-res TIFF

Words: Martin Cooper

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