NASA recently made its image and video library open to the public for royalty-free use, so I dove through the pictures to find the coolest photos on there. Why? Because I have a lot of free time and prefer to waste it on space shit, that’s why.
So do yourself a favor: set your responsibilities aside, grab a pre-roll of Animal Cookies, and spend hours staring at the pictures below.
I’m way too high to read NASA’s entire description of this picture, but I’m pretty sure it’s an X-ray of the sun’s highest and lowest energy spots, taken by NuSTAR. Or it’s the next flavor of edible cookie to be released by Goodship. I’ll keep a $5 bill in my back pocket just in case.
Editor’s note: It could be an edible, but it’s definitely a “mosaic made from combining smaller images…[of] flaring, active regions of [the] sun.”
Here’s Mystic Mountain, a region of the Carina Nebula that looks so beautiful my eyes are watering. I don’t even know what to say about it, other than it looks like something they’d paint on the walls of a dispensary.
Editor’s note: For context, NASA describes this as “the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula.”
This is a computer-simulated photo of a black hole at the center of a galaxy. There is no light inside of a black hole and apparently its gravitational pulls distort space around it, causing the energy and light of stars to make the space around it look like this.
It’s also a photo of my mood when I step out for the night, then quickly realize I just want to be at home. All this light and social energy around me, but I’m still just a little ball of darkness that can’t wait to sneakily call a Lyft and bounce.
Here’s a picture of a blazar. What’s a blazar? Honestly, I have no clue. My Google searches got way too scientific and wordy with the answers, so I’ll just say it’s when a black hole pulls up on a galaxy like “Yo, hand over that energy, playboy,” and then the galaxy cooperates. In layman’s terms, it’s pretty much what Enchantress did to the city towards the end of Suicide Squad.
Editor’s note: In addition to being absurdly amusing, Dante’s description is basically accurate: a blasar is a black-hole-powered galaxy.
Remember Hurricane Emilia in 1994? Me neither. I was 4 and my only concern was if we were getting McDonalds for breakfast or not. But this is what a hurricane looks like from space. Wild, right? It feels like we’re watching the chamber of a bong fill with smoke. Can someone pull Earth’s stem and clear the smoke, please?
This is a picture of the Crab Nebula, but it really looks like a strain of cannabis called Moon Rocks. I can look at this picture and tell that it’ll get me way too high for comfort.
This is the same Crab Nebula, which apparently also comes as an indica.
Here’s Jupiter and the auroras in its atmosphere. What does that mean? Much like everything else on this list, I have absolutely no clue, but this picture is cool as hell. Also, if you stare at the middle of Jupiter for long enough, it starts to look like the Sistine Chapel. And if you stare at the auroras, it starts to remind you that it’s time to load another bowl.
Editor’s note: As NASA describes it, auroras “are created when high-energy particles enter a planet’s atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas.”
This is a picture of the Horsehead Nebula. I guess it’s named after its appearance/shape, but all I see is a Lickitung on its back.
Lastly, check out the Helix Nebula. Not sure what that is, but it looks like an extremely judgmental eye that’s definitely staring into my soul and can see my browser history. Before it asks, I was hacked and also plead the fifth.