And they were something to behold, with a strange and distant beauty that called to Adam from afar. (from The Story of Everything, Chapter 16)
The winning photo, above, is of the Sombrero Galaxy, 28 million light years from earth and 50,000 light years across. The next four places were awarded to pictures of nebulae, those clouds of gas and dust that are both the graveyards and the nurseries of stars. All are within 8,000 light years of earth.
Second place went to the Ant Nebula. It derives its name from the way it looks to telescopes on the ground.
In third place was the Eskimo Nebula. The furry hood around the face is a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star.
Number four was the Cat's Eye Nebula, one of the most complex nebulae known. It lies 3,000 light years away.
The Hourglass Nebula, 8000 light years away, came in fifth. It's narrow in the middle because the winds that shape it are weaker at the center.