Below you will find a small collection of astronomy wallpapers, designed for use with a monitor resolution of 1280×960, 1024×768, or 800×600. Download your favorite and bring the beauty of the night sky to your computer’s desktop!
Here are the instructions to set up wallpaper on a PC running Windows and Internet Explorer:
1. Click one of the links below the thumbnails, according to your screen resolution. 2. Wait until the picture has completely finished downloading. 3. Right-click on the image that displays and select “Set as Wallpaper”.
A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring events, and a spectacle no one ever forgets. The bright solar disk is completely covered by the Moon, and the Sun’s outer atmosphere or solar corona becomes clearly visible. Because the path of the Moon’s shadow is narrow and can fall anywhere on Earth total eclipses are not only beautiful but also rare, for most of us a once in a lifetime experience.
International Space Station
The International Space Station orbits silently above our cloudy planet in this image taken by the Space Shuttle Endeavor crew. The station can be easily seen with the naked eye from almost any location on Earth, and at times is even brighter than Venus. If you manage to catch it in your telescope the “T” shape will be clearly visible, a sight not likely to forget!
Credit: STS-108 Crew, NASA
Gemini North at Sunset
The Gemini Observatory consists of two 8-meter telescopes located in both hemispheres, so together these telescopes can access the entire sky. This wallpaper shows a beautiful sunset over Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, home of the Gemini North Observatory. Mauna Kea is one of the best sites on our planet for observing the universe, with excellent atmospheric conditions and no light pollution.
The Helix Nebula is one of the closest of all planetary nebulae, a spherical shell of gas lying at a distance of about 400 light years from Earth. It has a diameter equal to half the apparent width of the Moon, and on clear nights binoculars and small telescopes will show it as a large circular misty patch.
Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO)
Earth from High Above
This gorgeous view of our planet was taken from the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of 390 kilometers. The Sun illuminates the scene from the right, and the terminator line that separates day and night is visible to the left. The thin portion of dark blue light above the curved horizon line is our atmosphere, a mixture of gases 480 kilometers thick.
Credit: ISS Crew, Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Lab
This stunning image of the Tadpole Galaxy (UGC 10214) reveals just how violent the universe can be. Another galaxy crossed in front of UGC 10214, and during the close encounter strong gravitational forces created a spectacular tail composed of debris drew out from the spiral arms. The picture was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) installed on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Credit: ACS Science & Engineering Team, NASA
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the showpiece of the solar system. It is a gas giant and the second-largest planet, surpassed only by Jupiter. The planet is visible with almost any amateur telescope and never fails to elicit a gasp when people see it for the first time. The image was taken by the robot Cassini spacecraft in February 2004, after a 2.2 billion mile journey through the void of space.
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA
This wallpaper shows the conspicuous Eagle Nebula, a region of current star formation that lies about 6500 light years away and spans more then 20 light years. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Cheseaux in 1746, and later included in Messier’s catalogue. The nebula is within range of binoculars as well as small telescopes on clear summer nights, toward the constellation of Serpens.
Credit: T.A. Rector & B.A. Wolpa, NOAO, AURA
The robot Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn sent this beautiful digitally reconstructed image of the planet’s rings, generated using three different radio wavelengths that where broadcasted and then bounced back from the rings. The color purple shows regions populated by ring particles larger than five centimeters, while the color green indicates regions with a population of particles less than one centimeter in size.
Credit: RSS, JPL, ESA, NASA
Lightning is one of the most magnificent natural phenomena, beautiful but also extremely dangerous. It is often believed to be an infrequent occurrence, but on average over 100 lightning strikes occur every second over the surface of the Earth. Lightning has also been observed on other planets, including Venus and Saturn. This wallpaper shows a cloud-to-cloud lightning, a discharge between two separate clouds.
Credit: Andre Karwath (Wikimedia Commons)
M101, also called the Pinwheel, is an enormous galaxy almost twice the size of our own Milky Way. It is located about 25 million light years away within the boundaries of Ursa Major. Visible in the image are the bright star forming regions in the spiral arms, along with the myriad of background galaxies seen through the disk.
Credit: NASA, ESA, CFHT, NOAO, K.Kuntz, F.Bresolin, J.Trauger, J.Mould, Y.-H.Chu
The great Orion Nebula is one of the most celebrated objects in the entire heavens, a huge cloud of gas and dust in which stars are being born. This image of the nebula constructed using data from the Hubble Space Telescope is the sharpest ever, revealing about 3000 stars and many subtle details.
Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto and The Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team
Located in the constellation of Orion, the Horsehead Nebula is a dense cloud of obscuring gas seen in front of the bright emission nebula known as IC 434. The bright star on the left is Zeta Orionis, the easternmost of the three stars that form Orion’s belt. This is just a foreground star, not physically related to IC 434.
Credit: T.A.Rector (NOAO/AURA/NSF) and Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA)
Jupiter and Io
Jupiter is the senior member of the Sun’s family, a giant more massive than all the other planets combined. The planet has an extensive satellite family composed of four large moons and dozens of other smaller rocky bodies. The large satellites are bright enough to be seen with any small telescope or even powerful binoculars. This image shows the planet’s swirling clouds and the moon Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
Credit: Cassini Project, NASA