The year 2017 has been one of spectacular images from space. Several of Nasa's missions went through crucial landmarks and we were rewarded with spectacular images at almost every turn. Here are a few of what we think are the best images that Nasa put out this year. They are ranked in no particular order, but all of them are breathtaking and awe-inspiring in their own way.

Cassini's final image

Perhaps the most stunning of all the images on this list, it marked the end of the Cassini mission that lasted over decade, nearly 13 years in the Saturn system from where it sent back voluminous amounts of data. The below image was the last full shot of Saturn it captured as it headed toward the planet where it burned upon entry.

Nasa Cassini
The final image that Cassini shot before heading toward Saturn for a final plunge NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Hubble captures two interacting galaxies

This image shot by the Hubble Space Telescope shows two interacting galaxies. The galaxies are located 60 million light years away in the Leo constellation. The two galaxies in the image are called the NGC3447. The one on the left in 3447A and the one on the right is 3447B.

Hubble space telescpoe
Hubble’s trusty Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured a striking view of two interacting galaxies located some 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo ESA/Hubble & NASA

The 2017 solar eclipse

One of the most widely covered and photographed celestial events of this year was the total solar eclipse that took place on 21 August this year. This composite image shows the moments before, during and after totality over Madras, Oregon.

2017 eclipse
2017 total solar eclipse over mainland USA NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Solar storms

Nasa was able to capture a few instances of massive solar flares and even got a glimpse of material spewing out of the sun. This image shows a pair of active regions that were observed where superheated plasma reached temperatures of over a million degrees. Nasa has said that none of the bursts were serious incidents.

Solar storms
A pair of active regions move and change as they rotate with the sun over just a 17-hour period on 4 and 5 October 2017 NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Mars is not all red and dusty

Mars is a planet that received a lot of attention this year. From Elon Musk saying that humans will settle on Mars for sure, to Nasa close to finding life, or traces of life on the red planet, there has been a lot of activity in and around Mars. Several countries have started their own Mars projects, including the UAE. Worms can grow on Mars, and we now know for certain that Mars has water, sand dunes and Martian storms. It also has streaks of what astronomers thought was water, but then later decided that it was not. The list goes on, but this is the picture that makes the cut. For many, this might not even look like Mars, but it is.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
This image, released 23 February 2017, shows a barren bedrock, which is rare as Mars is mostly composed of a layer of dust almost throughout the planet NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Juno captures Jovian Van Gogh

This massive raging storm over Jupiter's northern hemisphere almost looks like a painting. The image was taken by Juno during its ninth close flyby. The image was released taken on 24 October.

Jupiter- Juno
Raging storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/ Seán Doran

Mars Curiosity Rover

Curiosity has been on Mars since 2012, exploring the Gale crater, taking samples and capturing some stunning photographs, including several selfies. Here is a picture of Ireson Hill at Mount Sharp, on Mars. The image was released on 12 July this year and is a composite shot from the Rover's Mast cam.

Mars Rover Mission
This hill is on the rim of the Gale crater NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Saturn's Moon Enceladus

Enceladus is one of the places in the Solar System that has been identified as a spot that can actually harbour life. Its subterranean oceans spewing ice in the form of large icy geysers at its south pole is simply beautiful and this image shows why. Captured by Cassini, the image was released in July this year.

Enceladus' south-polar jets are viewed from afar, backlit by sunlight while the moon itself glows softly in reflected Saturn-shine NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Ghostly curtains of light

Saturn's aurora is unlike anything seen on Earth. It is bright red and intensely colourful. Specks of light dancing across the ringed planet is a sight to behold. Nasa reports that, "The auroras rotate from left to right, curving around the planet as Saturn rotates over."

The red rose of Saturn Photo by NASA via Getty Images

The International space station

The International Space Station is Earth's only lab in space. Orbiting the planet at a little over 400 km, the crew of the space station have arguably the best views of both outer space as well as the Earth below and they make excellent use of it. Some of the most stunning pictures from Nasa have been beamed down from the ISS. Here is this year's pick.

Moon rise
From his vantage point in low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik pointed his camera toward the rising Moon and captured this beautiful image on August 3, 2017 NASA

In a galaxy far, far away

Nasa was able to capture what they are calling a "Star war in the Orion Nebula". Tracing them back 540 years from 2017, they were able to find that in the 1400's on Earth, these stars were part of a star system. Two stars in this system propelled each other outward and a third star was also involved, says Nasa. Early this year, they found traces of this third runaway star.

The image by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a grouping of young stars, called the Trapezium Cluster (center) NASA, ESA, K. Luhman Penn State University), and M. Robberto (STScI

New Horizons gives a view of Pluto

New Horizons made its epic flyby of Pluto in 2015, but Nasa is still working on the images that were sent back by the spacecraft. This "global map" of Pluto was released in January this year and presents the exoplanet as a flat, high resolution map.

Map of Pluto
Colour map of Pluto is based on a series of three colour filter images from the camera aboard New Horizons during the NASA spacecraft’s close flyby of Pluto in July 2015 NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Jupiter down under

This image shot by Juno shows Jupiter in a never-before seen light - from its south pole at a distance of 52,000 km from its atmosphere. The circular features seen are raging cyclonic storms, each about a 1,000 km in diameter.

Jupiter- Juno
Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

Planet Earth

Nasa's coverage of Earth produced a few spectacular images this year as well. A project called "Six Stories of Life", brought out the blue planet's best, most beautiful images. The last two images in this list are of Earth, from above.

Coral reefs
Reef system on Arrecife Alacranes – Spanish for “Scorpion Reef” in the southern Gulf of Mexico shot by Landsat 8 NASA Earth Observatory

Phytoplankton, known as the powerhouse of the ocean, is among the most abundant forms of life in the seas. They are not technically plant life, but rather single-celled organisms that form the base of marine food chains.

This image shows abundant phytoplankton, known as a bloom, as swirls of green in the Gulf of Alaska NASA's Earth Observatory

That makes the 15 most stunning images that Nasa shared this year. This list is by no means exhaustive, rather, a selection of images that we found to the most stunning.