Space Wallpapers and Nebula Wallpapers

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Space wallpapers have something overwhelming, mysterious and somehow enigmatic. They illustrate something which is too far away to be observed and provide us with some insights we wouldn’t be able to gain otherwise. In fact, space wallpapers can be extremely beautiful and hence extremely attractive to our eye. And this is a good reason for putting them on the desktop where “cosmic” motifs can serve as a fresh perspective in the tiresome daily routine.

This post presents over 35 space and nebula wallpapers and related resources. Some of the presented wallpapers are real photos, some of them have been created using Photoshop or Illustrator. In either case the result is pretty impressive and definitely worth a look if you are looking for some “cosmic” inspiration out there.

Just to clarify: according to Wikipedia1, a nebula (from Latin: “mist”) is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas and plasma. It is the first stage of a star’s cycle. In these regions the formations of gas, dust and other materials ‘clump’ together to form larger masses, which attract further matter, and eventually will become big enough to form stars. The remaining materials are then believed to form planets, and other planetary system objects.

Nebula and Space Wallpapers

Pismis 24-12
Psimis 24-1 is the core of the nebula NGC 6357. Well, nice to know. Source: NASA.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper3

Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula (M16)4
Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometres high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star. Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper5

Preiades Star Cluster6
A set of wallpapers from Crestock: together with 12 further wallpapers, this one is available in 8 resolutions. Both wide screen and full screen versions are available for free download.

Awesome Wallpapers - 13 Fantastic Free Wallpaper Images | Crestock.com Blog7

Red Square Nebula8
A symmetric bipolar nebula around MWC 922. Source: Caltech Palomar Observatory. Resolution: 1680×1050.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper9

The Horsehead Nebula10
Photo by Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA).

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper11

Greg Martin12
Greg Martin has some beautiful designs and illustrations related to cosmic motifs. In various resolutions.

13

Wallcoo Space Art14
60 high-resolution wallpapers illustrating space.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper15

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper16

The Orion Nebula17
This picture shows the great nebula in the constellation of Orion the Hunter. It is probably the most spectacular of all the objects cataloged by Charles Messier and now called by their `M’ numbers. M42 had been known since the beginnings of recorded astronomy as a star, but it is so outstanding that it was first noted as an extended nebula in 1610, only a year after Galileo’s first use of the telescope. Detailed descriptions started appearing later in the seventeenth century, and it has been a popular target for anyone with a telescope ever since.

18

Wanderingspace Wallpapers19
The growing collection of astronomy-related wallpapers: planets, galaxies and space in high-resolution-wallpapers: 1440×900, 1680×1050 and 2560×1600. Wallpapers for iPhone are available as well. Please get to know them: Neptune, Sun, Jupiter.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper20

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper21

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper22

Etherlight23
“The inside of a nebula – depicting Starbirth.” Designed by antifan-real24

25

Ethereal Bloom 26
Designed by sumopiggy27.

28

M16 – Eagle Nebula Close29
“Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula”.

30

Nebulae Wallpaper31
“I tried to combine two of my favorited styles – the detailed one with realistic planet surfaces and the colorful nebulae “WTF?” style. Here is the outcome.” Available in 1024×768, 1280×960, 1280×1024, 1400×1050, 1600×1200, 1680×1050.

Awesome Wallpapers - Wallpaper - Nebulae Wallpaper32

33

Between Realms 34
“An odd silence resumes after the inexplicable shattering of the universal space continuum; it is during this odd silence, after the shock felt throughout the entire universe, that it becomes evident that a rift has formed, the two realms collaborate in a splash of light & colour, like a dream & yet so real are the liquescent forms of light – it is unlike anything of this realm, as if a pure bliss is breaking through the darkness” Created by j4m3sb0nd35.

36

Reconnaissance37
by dilekt38

Exotica39
Designed by *SamODJ 401680×1050 px

41

Sky Wallpapers

Wishing I could fly42
1280×1024 px. Designed by s3vendays43.

44

45

Peacekeeper Missile Testing

46“LG-118A Peacekeeper missile system being tested at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands”47

48

Atardecer49

50

Clouds III51
Designed by emailandthings52

53

Aurora Sky54
Available in resolutions 1024×768, 1152×864, 1280×1024, 1600×1200, 1920×1440, 1280×800, 1440×900, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200.

55

Out with the Lion, In with the Lamb56
“This was the scene after one of the hardest hitting storms I’ve ever been in.”

57

Sources and Resources

  • Space wallpapers58
    offers probably the largest selection of free high quality space wallpapers for your desktop and Playstation Portable.
  • NASA Wallpapers59
    NASA site has collections of real stars and nebulas wallpapers in various resolutions.
  • Inspiration: Stars, Planets and Galaxies60
    This article will have you grabbing a telescope or heading over to NASA. Learn about the recent rage in space style effects in design. Take a look at artists that have been working in this field long before Apple branded Leopard with such cool space imagery and lighting effects.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebula
  2. 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toptechwriter/397241664/in/set-72157600006497342/
  3. 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toptechwriter/397241664/in/set-72157600006497342/
  4. 4 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=4
  5. 5 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=4
  6. 6 http://www.crestock.com/blog/photography/13-fantastic-free-wallpaper-images-80.aspx
  7. 7 http://www.crestock.com/blog/photography/13-fantastic-free-wallpaper-images-80.aspx
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toptechwriter/461719996/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toptechwriter/461719996/
  10. 10 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=22
  11. 11 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=22
  12. 12 http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com
  13. 13 http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com
  14. 14 http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com
  15. 15 http://www.wallcoo.com/paint/space_1600/html/wallpaper14.html
  16. 16 http://www.wallcoo.com/paint/space_1600/html/wallpaper37.html
  17. 17 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=111
  18. 18 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=111
  19. 19 http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=63
  20. 20 http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=63
  21. 21 http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=46
  22. 22 http://wanderingspace.net/?cat=63
  23. 23 http://antifan-real.deviantart.com/art/ETHERLIGHT-11000459
  24. 24 http://antifan-real.deviantart.com
  25. 25 http://antifan-real.deviantart.com/art/ETHERLIGHT-11000459
  26. 26 http://sumopiggy.deviantart.com/art/Ethereal-Bloom-13753461
  27. 27 http://sumopiggy.deviantart.com
  28. 28 http://sumopiggy.deviantart.com/art/Ethereal-Bloom-13753461
  29. 29 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=5
  30. 30 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/wallpapers/displayimage.php?album=2&pos=5
  31. 31 http://joejesus.deviantart.com/art/Aries-73863326
  32. 32 http://joejesus.deviantart.com/art/Aries-73863326
  33. 33 http://el50.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/200726013026-1098.jpg
  34. 34 http://j4m3sb0nd.deviantart.com/art/Between-Realms-45225657
  35. 35 http://j4m3sb0nd.deviantart.com
  36. 36 http://j4m3sb0nd.deviantart.com/art/Between-Realms-45225657
  37. 37 http://dilekt.deviantart.com/art/Reconnaissance-Wallpaper-14511401
  38. 38 http://dilekt.deviantart.com
  39. 39 http://samodj.deviantart.com/art/Exotica-45692759
  40. 40 http://samodj.deviantart.com
  41. 41 http://samodj.deviantart.com/art/Exotica-45692759
  42. 42 http://s3vendays.deviantart.com/art/Wishing-I-could-fly-38848986
  43. 43 http://s3vendays.deviantart.com/
  44. 44 http://s3vendays.deviantart.com/art/Wishing-I-could-fly-38848986
  45. 45 http://el50.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/200602104253-654.jpg
  46. 46 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Peacekeeper-missile-testing.jpg
  47. 47 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Peacekeeper-missile-testing.jpg
  48. 48 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Peacekeeper-missile-testing.jpg
  49. 49 http://el50.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/200807015318-5445.jpg
  50. 50 http://el50.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/200807015318-5445.jpg
  51. 51 http://emailandthings.deviantart.com/art/Wallpaper-Clouds-III-48019082
  52. 52 http://emailandthings.deviantart.com
  53. 53 http://emailandthings.deviantart.com/art/Wallpaper-Clouds-III-48019082
  54. 54 http://wallpaperstock.net/aurora-sky-wallpapers_w6273.html
  55. 55 http://wallpaperstock.net/aurora-sky-wallpapers_w6273.html
  56. 56 http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details.php?id=972
  57. 57 http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details.php?id=972
  58. 58 http://www.spacewallpapers.net/
  59. 59 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/wallpaper/index.cfm
  60. 60 http://psdtuts.com/inspiration/inspiration-stars-planets-and-galaxies/

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Eric Ulises is the writer of el50.com (in Spanish), a weblog about design, music, internet and some cool stuff.

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  1. 1

    one of the worst smahing posts ever :’(

    -2
  2. 2

    Not great, I agree Thomas. Although the Peacekeeper missile shot was still pretty cool, right?

    Cameron

    -2
  3. 3

    No – this one is definitely a boring one. Sorry guys.

    -2
  4. 4

    Amazing!
    Curiosando

    2
  5. 5

    I think this post is great. Let the images inspire you.

    1
  6. 6

    Curt Simon Harlinghausen

    June 11, 2008 8:41 am

    We know, you can do better ;-)

    -2
  7. 7

    I’m going to agree with the not-so-great sentiments. One of the wallpapers (City of Clouds: Brooklyn) looks poorly photoshopped even from thumbnail and the others don’t offer much redemption. No offense webby.

    -1
  8. 8

    Some of the pictures give a lot of inspiration and I got a new wallpaper for my self :D

    0
  9. 9

    Indeed a bit boring guys. You see nebula’s on the net all the time.

    0
  10. 10

    Go to http://www.thepixlpusher.com/free-cosmic-photoshop-brushes/ to get free cosmic nebula/space psd. brushes. Not to mention they are all very large brushes.

    0
  11. 11

    I don’t agree ! It was a great post, and I got myself a new wallpaper too ^^

    0
  12. 12

    I like pictures of the earth from space.

    0
  13. 13

    Nice post, not amazing but as per usual were getting plenty of free content, and all in one place I hasten to add. So keep it up guys.

    0
  14. 14

    thanks again

    0
  15. 15

    I think you can never have too many space and nebulae wallpapers.

    Just a slight correction: I believe the name of the star cluster shown in the third thumbnail is Pleiades.

    0
  16. 16

    For some reason, I’m digging on the 1st Wallcoo Space Art wallpaper!! Mmm mmm!!! LOL!!

    0
  17. 17

    unuseful things this time… you know better, smash the things

    0
  18. 18

    Damn, this is just boooring. Sorry guys.

    0
  19. 19

    Space images open your mind to time infinity.
    Doesn’t this make you think to your favorite SF novels?
    Stop ranting, guys, and appreciate these pics!

    0
  20. 20

    hmm i’m looking forward to the time when i will see anime wallpapers on smashingmagazine :D (start with hentaiplus.tk)

    0
  21. 21

    This post was okay. But it’s expected that your readers get disappointed after so many of your awesome posts.

    Anyways, keep up the good work.

    0
  22. 22

    taking a more artsy approach with the last few posts. I miss the programming the posts:(

    0
  23. 23

    this one suck!. space theme!?….
    BUT U ROCK 24/7 anyway! keep up the good work .

    0
  24. 24

    Sorry to the commenters, but this is one of my favorite posts. I love space pictures and, if you guys were smart enough you would see the other articles about using space effects and imagery in web design. I especially love the planetary wallpaper. Right now I’m using the Plieades paper ! I always love jamesbond’s work too. Beautiful collection.

    0
  25. 26

    Nice pics! =)

    0
  26. 27

    Cool compilation. :) I also published another Wallpaper list today on my blog: http://www.paintbits.com/2008/06/12/another-38-amazing-wallpapers/

    Keep it up.

    0
  27. 28

    Fuck all you losers whining about this post being boring, I reckon this is a great collection.

    Some really amazing shots and that peacekeeper image is just plain scary.

    0
  28. 29

    Sky always good! But need logos and plenty intercosmic high market infiltration/inspiration!! Broken spectrum of high laser neon display!
    Oh no! Song coming on!

    Like the prophet Dr Octagon didst let flow: Disappear again, zapped like an android / Face the fact, I fly on planets every day /My nucleus friend, prepare, I return again /My 7XL is not yet invented! // Earth People! New York and California! Earth people! I was born on Jupiter!

    0
  29. 30

    In fact, I don’t like these style too, through I like them years ago.

    0
  30. 31
  31. 32

    Ooo my GOD!!
    Fantastic…!!!

    0
  32. 33

    I’m looking forward to the next post.

    0
  33. 34

    well, I don’t like pics from space, they’re dark and depressive :-o something positive next time, please ;-)

    0
  34. 35

    wow smashing magazine goes newage

    please let the next post be about the best organic herbal tea bag designs…

    0
  35. 36

    You can’t please everyone all of the tiime, gets my vote though guys. :o)

    0
  36. 37
  37. 38

    Well I liked the post – some nice new wallpapers for me!

    0
  38. 39

    I like this post!
    Got a new Monitor and was searching for wallpapers :)

    0
  39. 40

    The sun is great!

    0
  40. 41

    Very cheesy, very boring and to be honest they are not a patch on the the new Leopard desktop.

    0
  41. 42

    Simplement magnifique. Surtout quand on sait que la plupart des images ne sont pas été retouchées.
    Et non les gars : ce n’est pas un tutorial pour dessiner des jolies nébuleuses.
    thanx smashing!

    0
  42. 43

    I like space and enjoy these pictures.
    The post is good. Postings can not be awsome all the time.
    That would be like asking my kids to come back from school with AAA
    all the time.
    A is also pretty good. And B is not bad.

    0
  43. 44

    Although I am not a space fanatic I found the images inspiring none the less. To each his own I guess. I appreciate the diversity of this site, and think it’s good to think outside the box a bit. Even have a free web template using some of the images above.

    0
  44. 45

    Pedro Gonçalves

    June 12, 2008 9:00 am

    I could write a whole thesis on how the Leopard’s standard desktop background influenced graphic design since last year’s apple launch. And of course, this post as well…

    0
  45. 46

    booooring!!

    0
  46. 47

    fantastic!!! :)

    0
  47. 48

    thanks for your effort

    0
  48. 49

    fantastic

    0
  49. 50

    great wallpapers.. gotta love those amazing colors of the stars!

    thanks a lot!

    0
  50. 51

    Great images. To people who find them boring: look in the mirror. Also, it’s Io, not Jupiter.

    0
  51. 52

    waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssssuuuuuuuuuumm
    my mind is rolling…

    0
  52. 53

    great set, but i’m surprised you didn’t pick up this guy’s amateur space pictures:

    http://www.heliographic.net/sun/

    http://www.heliographic.net/deepsky/

    he’s got some amazing shots for an amateur but overall great set you got here

    0
  53. 54

    Good job. Thanks a lot.

    0
  54. 55

    Zahrah (nickname: Niloofar)

    October 23, 2008 11:49 pm

    Great. They just make me closer to God. Thanks for your nice job.

    0
  55. 56

    “Wishing I could fly” is PWNAGE!! I LOVE IT!! <3

    0
  56. 57

    WOW people are jerks. These pictures are absolutely beautiful!!

    0
  57. 58

    Mediocre and boring people love all things Earthly and are scared of everything outside our planet’s atmosphere…but GIFTED and INTELLIGENT people love the heavens and embrace everything about the wide cosmos that we have yet to discover! No matter what people who have their heads stuck in the sand may say (while the rest of Mankind tentatively takes its first step to the stars), not one word of theirs will matter anyway because we all came from stardust, and to stardust we shall all return…in one way or another. Ad Astra! To The Stars!

    Amazing post! Keep up the good work…

    0
  58. 59

    just great! :D

    0
  59. 60

    Totally Cool! I really agree with Firefly. Thomas Strobl, Cameron, and all the other folks who hate the heavens really suck. Space can be your best friend or worst enemy. Everyone at SMASHING MAGAZINE is awesome! Love your work!

    0
  60. 61

    these are great!! i love the space ones!! stunning!!!

    amazing work!!!!! :)

    0
  61. 62

    though i don’t understand it | i love it~ thx

    0
  62. 63

    Very – Very Nice that never seen ago

    0
  63. 64

    very-very nice wallpapers that never seen ago

    0
  64. 65

    i think between creativity and reality thin line there is

    0
  65. 66

    Pengy Fatwaddle

    May 19, 2009 8:06 am

    Wow! This is great cool stuff! I love these wallpapers, they are really nice!

    0
  66. 67

    I love pictures of the earth from space.

    0
  67. 68

    Cool pics, keep it up! I love nebula shots, and i’m looking forward to adding them to my VERY large photo collection!

    0
  68. 69

    flipp rockwell

    June 8, 2009 8:14 am

    my ex girlfriend sent me the link and i was blown away! space is the only thing i’ve ever want to visit to get as close to god as i can. and whoever says they dont believe in god, i tell them to look at the hubble pictures again. flipp

    0
  69. 70

    sad… u people are sad….this is one of another brilliant post..and ur complaining…sad…open ur mind morron

    0
  70. 71

    Nice photos! Very inspiring!

    0
  71. 72

    Superb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0
  72. 73
  73. 74

    wow …really exiting ……….just great!!!!!!!!!

    0
  74. 75

    keep it up!!! great ….I love nebulas……….

    0
  75. 76

    Wow…….. This Pictures are amazing………….. i like all pictures…………………….

    0
  76. 77

    Its very awesome and I never knew we had it

    0
  77. 78

    grate stuff, the images are so colourful and love the wallpaper

    0
  78. 79

    Ewan John Findlay

    February 7, 2011 8:51 am

    Amazing

    0
  79. 80

    Hy this is amazingggggg , nun muslem must thing about this that who creat this , Just Allah no one can

    0
  80. 81

    They are so amazing wallpapers.
    They are like Woooooooooooah.

    0
  81. 82

    they are pretty and they’re diffrent, Gods landscape are diffrent every day and never get the same picture twice.

    0
  82. 83

    Goooooooooooooooooooood Job

    0
  83. 84

    The pictures of the sun neptune and jupiter the one at the bottom is none of those it is one of jupiters moons Io.
    Great website though!

    0
  84. 85

    i like those pictures.
    i love astrology

    0
  85. 86

    How great the space is ?
    It must be create by a person.Only one of god create it for normal human.
    But most of people on the world don’t believe christ.

    0
  86. 87

    I thing,for human everything.bıg big GOD

    0
  87. 88

    Buh-weet say OTAY!!!!!!

    0
  88. 89

    It’s the PLEIADES star cluster, not Preiades.

    0
  89. 90

    …,. nic pics……….wow!

    0
  90. 91

    I love this post, it’s awesome in my opinion :)

    Allthough, the “Neptune, Sun, Jupiter” is wrong.
    The last image is not of the planet Jupiter itself, but of one of it’s moons, called “Io”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Io_(moon)

    0

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