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Space Wallpapers and Nebula Wallpapers

Space wallpapers have something overwhelming, mysterious and somehow enigmatic. They illustrate something that 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 breathtaking 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 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 Link

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 | 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.


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.


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

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


Ethereal Bloom 26
Designed by sumopiggy27.


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”.


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

Between Realms
“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 j4m3sb0nd34.

by dilekt36

Designed by *SamODJ 381680×1050 px


Sky Wallpapers Link

Wishing I could fly40
1280×1024 px. Designed by s3vendays41.


Peacekeeper Missile Testing

44“LG-118A Peacekeeper missile system being tested at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands”45




Clouds III49
Designed by emailandthings50


Aurora Sky52
Available in resolutions 1024×768, 1152×864, 1280×1024, 1600×1200, 1920×1440, 1280×800, 1440×900, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200.


Out with the Lion, In with the Lamb54
“This was the scene after one of the hardest hitting storms I’ve ever been in.”


Sources and Resources Link

  • Space wallpapers56
    offers probably the largest selection of free high quality space wallpapers for your desktop and Playstation Portable.
  • NASA Wallpapers57
    NASA site has collections of real stars and nebulas wallpapers in various resolutions.
  • Inspiration: Stars, Planets and Galaxies58
    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 Link

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SmashingConf New York

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

  1. 1

    Thomas Strobl

    June 11, 2008 8:11 am

    one of the worst smahing posts ever :'(

  2. 2

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


  3. 3

    Andy Gongea

    June 11, 2008 8:30 am

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

  4. 4

    Rodrigo Piva

    June 11, 2008 8:31 am


  5. 5

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

  6. 6

    Curt Simon Harlinghausen

    June 11, 2008 8:41 am

    We know, you can do better ;-)

  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.

  8. 8


    June 11, 2008 8:45 am

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

  9. 9

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

  10. 10


    June 11, 2008 9:22 am

    Go to to get free cosmic nebula/space psd. brushes. Not to mention they are all very large brushes.

  11. 11

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

  12. 12

    I like pictures of the earth from space.

  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.

  14. 14

    thanks again

  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.

  16. 16

    Tyler Henson

    June 11, 2008 12:29 pm

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

  17. 17

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

  18. 18

    Damn, this is just boooring. Sorry guys.

  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!

  20. 20

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


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