With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), 2022 was a spectacular year for astronomy and astrophotography. Since the moment it was announced, both the scientific community and the public were excited about the new possibilities in space exploration that would come with this new telescope. In the end, the JWST exceeded expectations and gave us some incredible images of neighboring planets and far away galaxies.
From its first Deep Field image—which gave us a crystal clear view of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723—to a marvelous picture of auroras on Jupiter taken with its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), we've been privy to a visual feast of colors, shapes, and activity beyond the confines of our atmosphere. The photos taken by the JWST have challenged what we thought we knew about space while making us fall in love with it all over again every time.
As for independent astrophotographers, 2022 also brought some unique chances for them to take their craft to the next level. From Paul Cheyne's beautiful image of the Milky Way glittering over the famous Racetrack Playa in California's Death Valley to Dane Smith's one-in-a-lifetime picture of both the Milky Way and an eclipse within the same frame to Andrew McCarthy's collage of the phases of the last lunar eclipse of 2022, it's clear astrophotographers have been actively capturing and creating this past year.
As a reminder of how absolutely stellar 2022 has been for photographers and space lovers, scroll down and check out some of the best astrophotography of the year. (You can also click on each image to read more about it.)
With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, 2022 was a monumental year for astronomy and astrophotography.
Pillars of Creation
Spiral Galaxy NGC 628
Neptune (Clearest Image Ever Taken)
Eye of God
Close-Up of Sun's Surface
Square-Shaped “Dust Shell” Ripple Rings
James Webb Space Telescope's First Deep Field