The night sky has been host to a series of extraordinary celestial events this year, with more still to come. From the Supermoon to Venus in the Beehive, the spectacular lightshow of outer space has inspired these 10 FREE celestial color palettes.
Over the course of 2023, astronomers have been rewarded with multiple extraordinary and rare celestial events. These include August’s Supermoon and Blue Moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse in May, and the upcoming Geminid meteor shower in December, famed for its breathtaking rainbow of colors.
Here, we look to the heavens for ultimate color inspiration. We’ve condensed each celestial event into a galaxy theme color palette that won’t fail to delight your audience. Galaxy colors are strikingly otherworldly and always surprising. These celestial color schemes a unique choice for creating memorable website designs and social media campaigns.
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Read on to discover 10 FREE space color palettes. All take their cues from astronomy, shooting stars, and the spectacular beauty of the planets in our solar system.
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Included with your free palettes you’ll find the HEX code swatches. These codes allow you to use our color schemes for online designs such as apps, websites, and social media posts. If you want to use these color for creating print designs, swatches can also be easily converted to CMYK swatches.
Discover a galaxy color palette you love? Simply right-click and save the image to your computer, or save to a mood board to come back to later.
1. Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation (January 30)
In January, early risers in the Southern hemisphere were rewarded with the sight of Mercury. It’s the closest planet to our Sun, rising in the East before sunrise. Visible even without a telescope, this elusive gray planet is the smallest in our solar system. It’s named after the Greek God Hermes (the Roman god Mercury), known as the most clever and fleet-footed of the Olympians.
This Mercury color palette expands on the planet’s cool, gray tones. It has deep midnight blue and blue green, creating a cool-hued color palette.
2. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (May 5)
A lunar eclipse dims the sun’s light over our Moon. A totally eclipsed moon often appears red in color, becoming known as a Blood Moon. In 2023, we didn’t have a true Blood Moon. The last one was in 2022, with the next Blood Moon in 2025. But in May, we were lucky to have a penumbral lunar eclipse, in which the Moon darkens but does not completely disappear as it moves into Earth’s outer shadow (penumbra).
3. Mars in the Beehive (June 1, 2)
In early June, the red planet wandered across the star cluster known as the Praesepe or the Beehive cluster. This is located in the Cancer constellation. Mars appeared as a glinting red ruby in a cluster of diamond-like stars as it made its way across the night sky.
No Mars color palette would be complete without its distinctive rust red hues of burnt ochre and cayenne. We also included pistachio green to balance this starry color scheme and pay tribute to Mars’ distinctive green glow.
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4. Venus in the Beehive (June 12, 13)
Not long after Mars visited the Beehive cluster, Venus—the brightest planet in the sky—passed just north of the Beehive. This added an even brighter diamond to this beautiful patchwork of stars.
The second planet from the Sun, and Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. It presents a distinctly unromantic environment, with thousands of volcanoes and a dense covering of swirling toxic clouds. From a distance, however, this pale planet appears serene and ethereal, featuring soft, pearlescent hues of chamois and ecru.
5. June Solstice (June 21)
The Sun reaches its northernmost position in the sky towards the end of June. This is when the North Pole of the Earth tilts towards the Sun. In the Northern hemisphere, this marks the first day of summer (Summer Solstice). Meanwhile in the Southern hemisphere, it marks the first day of winter (Winter Solstice). Throughout the world, the June Solstice has held important spiritual (as well as astronomical) significance. Many cultures mark this celestial event with sun-greeting ceremonies.
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The June Solstice denotes a time of seasonal renewal in the world, marking the distinction between winter and summer. In this solstice color palette, the seasonality of this celestial event is referenced through a balanced scheme of cool winter hues and warm summer colors. Team coral blue and mauve with apricot and peach pink.
6. Milky Way Season (July)
The spiral galaxy that includes our own solar system, the Milky Way galaxy can be seen from Earth as a cloudy cluster of infinite stars and solar systems. The best time to see the Milky Way without a telescope is between February and October. On nights with a new moon, in particular, these are prime months for photographers hoping to capture this spectacular sight.
Over July 2023 the Milky Way was particularly visible to the naked eye, with the galaxy’s center reaching the highest point in the southern sky.
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7. Supermoon and Blue Moon (August 31)
The much-anticipated Supermoon of late August also happens to be a Blue Moon, which is the name used for a second full moon in the same month. During a Supermoon, the moon is positioned on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun, and will be fully illuminated as a result. Close in its approach to the Earth, the Moon appears much brighter and larger on this night.
Supermoons are the largest and most impressive of full moons. They seem to illuminate the night in a cool wash of light. The cool hues of nighttime are given greater warmth and a purple cast under the light of a Supermoon. This moon color palette picks up on these mysterious hues, including dark purple, heather purple, and periwinkle.
8. Neptune at Opposition (September 19)
In September 2023, Neptune will be visible for most of the night as it lies opposite to the sun in the sky. This eighth planet from the sun is a vast, blue giant which is covered with methane gas in its upper atmosphere. This reflects blue light from the Sun back into space. The planet’s oceanic hue inspired the Greeks and Romans to give this planet its name, Neptune, the God of the sea.
In absorbing red light from the Sun and reflecting this back as blue, Neptune encompasses the two extremes of warm and cool color. This celestial color palette graduates from hot red orange to cool blue gray, resulting in a high-contrast palette that feels as bold and dramatic as this massive blue planet deserves.
9. Jupiter at Opposition (November 3)
The entire disc of Jupiter, the second brightest planet in our solar system, will be visible all night in early November, as Earth passes between it and the Sun. The largest planet in our solar system by far, Jupiter is a gas giant with its distinctive marbled appearance caused by windy clouds of ammonia and water. The distinctive Great Red Spot is a centuries-old storm that is larger than Earth.
Named after the Roman god of sky and thunder, and the king of the gods, Jupiter is suitably domineering and storm-stricken. Its violent weather systems look serene and painterly from afar. This Jupiter color palette is a graduating scheme of earth tones, from rosewood brown to cayenne red, burnt orange, and pale hazelnut.
10. Geminid Meteor Shower (December 13, 14)
You won’t want to miss this rare and beautiful celestial event in December 2023! This year, the spectacular Geminid meteor shower will occur just one day after a New Moon, making conditions for seeing this neon light display close to perfect.
The source of the Geminid display is the stream of debris left behind by asteroid 3200 Phaethon, and the “shooting stars” appear to radiate from near the star Castor in the Gemini constellation. Hope for clear, dark skies, because it’s possible to see 120 multicolored shooting stars per hour during this prolific display.
A spectrum of rich, jewel-toned colors are visible during the Geminid meteor shower. This galaxy color palette looks to deep fuchsia, electric purple, neon violet, and neon lime to recreate the beauty of this multicolored celestial display.
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