I happened to come across this post, which displays the author's selections of the top astronomical photographs of 2006. The one I am particularly stunned by is #5, the transit of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station in front of the Sun. The precise timing needed to execute this image mind boggling, and probably less than one in a million. The photographer, Thierry Legault, had to 1) know when the shuttle was approaching the ISS, 2) know when both of them would be in front of the sun relative to his location in France, which was a zone of observation only 7.4km wide, and 3) get this image in the 0.6 seconds of the transit duration.
Not all of these ten photographs are exclusively the result of instruments and technologies that did not exist a few years ago, but 3 to 4 of them are. As we have discussed before, telescopic power is also an accelerating technology, and increasingly impressive images will continue to emerge as new telescopes and supporting resources become operational.
Little can match an astronomical discovery's ability to generate wonder, optimism, and just a general good mood. We shall see, within just the next couple decades, images that even the late Carl Sagan would have been in awe of.