The year in breathtaking pictures began with this unique view from space of history in the making (read: The Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama). For more inauguration photos see The Big Picture, VentureBeat and The Frame.
Still looking down, the crew aboard the International Space Station caught this image of the Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands. If you like that, Wired also put together a gallery of erupting volcanoes on earth as seen from space.
Speaking of the ISS, back in March the Space Shuttle Discovery took some breathtaking parting shots.
Setting out sights still higher, 2009 was a banner year for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (or HiRISE) which produced enough amazing images to warrant a seperate list of its own. On that list however would be the HiRISE treatment of Mars' Moons: Deimos and Phobos.
Still in the nieghborhood, Hubble caught this image of Jupiter taking one for the team.
Hubble also snapped this image of a quadruple Saturn moon transit.
Along with the HiRISE project, 2009's other star was most certainly the Cassini mission which captured this--just one of many--rare and spectacular image of Saturn's equinox.
Zooming out only to be able to zoom back in, the highest resolution digital panorama of the observable sky yet went online.
Hubble's deep view of the universe got even deeper this year with the new Wide Field Camera 3 taking the deepest image yet.
There was also this truly unique view of the Milky Way's Galactic Center thanks to Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra.
While all these images are in no particular order, the next three are my favorites.
Hubble image of star birth in M83, the Southern Pinwheel.
Hubble image of star birth in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
July's solar eclipse viewed from space compliments of NASA's Earth Observatory.
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