General, WTF

55 Breathtaking Images of Earth from Space

northernlights

The project captures photos from various sensors and cameras for countless facets of the planet through different lenses.

We’ve gathered some particularly interesting satellite photos in the gallery above, comprised of shots from all seven continents, from volcanic eruptions to hurricanes to archipelagos. Take a look and let us know your favorites in the comments below.

1. Reefs in Princess Charlotte Bay

Taken April 20, 2013 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. These formations are part of the Great Barrier Reefs in Australia. This area lies on the east coast of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

Reefs in Princess Charlotte Bay

2. Fires in Cuba and Florida

Taken Feb. 3, 2003 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. Fires are marked in red.

2. Fires in Cuba and Florida

3. Florida Keys

Taken Dec. 5, 2003 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite.

floridakeys

4. Cloud Vortices in the Pacific

Taken May 22, 2013 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite, captured behind Isla Socorro, a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean located off the western coast of Mexico.

4. Cloud Vortices in the Pacific

5. Steam Plume from Gaua Volcano

Taken May 31, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Gaua island is the top of a stratovolcano part of the Vanuatu Archipelago.

Steam Plume from Gaua Volcano

6. Korangi, Pakistan

Taken April 20, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

korangi-pakistan

7. Little Rock, Ark.

Taken May 24, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

little-rock-ar

8. Pavlof Volcano, Alaska

Taken May 18, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. Pavlof Volcano, located on the Alaskan peninsula, began erupting on May 13, 2013.

pavlof-volcano

9. Strait of Tiran

Taken June 23, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. The Strait of Tiran links the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, south of Saudi Arabia.

Strait of Tiran

10. Intersection of the Danube and the Black Sea

Taken Feb. 5, 2013 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

Intersection of the Danube and the Black Sea

11. Minas Gerais, Brazil

Taken Feb. 10, 2011 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. This agricultural region is located southwest of the city of Perdizes in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil.

Minas Gerais, Brazil

12. Wilkins Ice Shelf

Taken March 23, 2013 from the WorldView-2 satellite. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, located on the Antarctic Peninsula, has experienced a series of breakup events since 1998.

Wilkins Ice Shelf

13. Mergui Archipelago

Taken Dec. 14, 2004 by the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5. The Mergui Archipelago in southern Myanmar lies along the border with Thailand.

Mergui Archipelago

14. Dust off Namibian Coast

Taken May 5, 2013 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite.

Dust off Namibian Coast

15. Hurricane Sandy

Taken Oct. 30, 2012 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The image is rotated, looking south from Canada — north is at the bottom of the image.

Hurricane Sandy

16. Sediment Along Spanish Coast

Taken Nov. 12, 2012 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. The image shows the Guadalquivir River emptying sediment deposits into the Gulf of Cádiz.

Sediment Along Spanish Coast

17. United Arab Emirates Coast

Taken Sept. 18, 2001 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7.

United Arab Emirates Coast

18. Cocos Islands

Taken on July 31, 2009 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands, comprised of coral atolls and islands, lie in the eastern Indian Ocean northwest of Perth, Australia.

Cocos Islands

19. Indus Valley

Taken Sept. 10, 2009 by the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5.

Indus Valley

20. Istanbul at Night

Taken on Aug. 9, 2012 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

istanbul-at-night

21. Liverpool Bay

Taken Sept. 2, 2000 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7. The image pictures an area east of Alaska in Canada and includes Liverpool Bay, the Eskimo Lakes and the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula.

Liverpool Bay

22. Sediment From Connecticut River

Taken Sept. 2, 2011 by the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5. The image was taken nearly a week after Hurricane Irene dumped large amounts of rain onto New England.

longisland-sediment

23. Nabro Volcano

Taken on Sept. 28, 2011 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Nabro Volcano is located in the Danakil Desert on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

nabro-volcano

24. Northern Lights

Taken on Sept. 17, 2011 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

northernlights

25. Medvezhiy Glacier

Taken July 23, 2011 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Medvezhiy Glacier in Tajikistan started to slide abruptly in summer 2011, having moved 800 to 1,000 meters from June to July 2011, faster than its normal 200 to 400 meters in a year.

Medvezhiy Glacier

26. Yukon Delta

Taken Sept. 22, 2002 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7. The Yukon River flows from British Columbia, Canada, through Yukon Territory before emptying out into the Yukon Delta in southwestern Alaska.

yukon-delta

27. Cat Island, Bahamas

Taken March 10, 2011 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

Cat Island, Bahamas

28. Durrat Al Bahrain

Taken Jan. 23, 2011 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. Durrat Al Bahrain is a series of 14 artificial islands created for residents and tourists located at the southern end of Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf

Durrat Al Bahrain

29. Brazilian Barrier Islands

Taken June 24, 2006 by the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5. These islands lie along the northeastern coast of Brazil.

brazil-barrier

30. Cape Cod, Mass.

Taken Nov. 7, 2007 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Kodak digital camera.

Cape Cod, Mass.

31. Doha, Qatar

Taken October 5, 2010 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

Doha, Qatar

32. Syr Darya River Floodplain

Taken Sept. 30, 2010 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. The Syr Darya River flows from the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia to the Aral Sea. This floodplain is in Kazakhstan.

Syr Darya River Floodplain

33. Wabash-Ohio Confluence

Taken June 23, 2011 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Floods receded in the Wabash-Ohio Confluence after spring flooding in the Mississippi River basin extended to the region.

Wabash-Ohio Confluence

34. St. John, Virgin Islands

Taken June 24, 2007 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

St. John, Virgin Islands

35. Greenland

Taken June 21, 2013 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The image shows the beginning of Greenland’s summer melt.

greenland

36. Millenium Island, Kiribati

Taken July 1, 2009 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. Previously known as Caroline Island before 2000, Millennium Island is an uninhabited island part of the Republic of Kiribati in the South Pacific Ocean.

Millenium Island, Kiribati

37. Malosmadulu Atolls, Maldives

Taken Dec. 22, 2002 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra satellite.

Malosmadulu Atolls, Maldives

38. United States at Night

This composite includes images taken in April and October of 2012 by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite.

United States at Night

39. Mataiva Atoll

Taken Aug 13, 2010 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. The Mataiva Atoll is part of the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia, the largest chain of atolls in the world, in the South Pacific Ocean.

mataiva-atoll

40. Imja Tsho, Nepal

Taken Oct. 4, 2010 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The Imja Glacier flows through eastern Nepal and eventually empties into the Ganges River.

Imja Tsho, Nepal

41. Pyramid Lake, Nev.

Taken Sept. 28, 2010 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

Pyramid Lake, Nev.

42. Tikehau Atoll

Taken June 30, 2009 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Tikehau Atoll is a part of French Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean.

tikehau-atoll

43. Lake Carnegie, Western Australia

Taken May 19, 1999 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7. This is a false-color composite image.

Lake Carnegie, Western Australia

44. Ice in the Arctic Sea

Taken Aug. 4, 2002 by Landsat 7. This is Foxe Basin near Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Ice in the Arctic Sea

45. Garden City, Kan.

Taken Sept. 25, 2000 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7. This is a false-color composite image

Garden City, Kan.

46. Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea

Taken on June 16, 2010 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea

47. Mount St. Helens

Taken Aug. 22, 1999 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7.

Mount St. Helens

48. New Orleans, La.

Taken April 26, 2000 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7

new-orleans

49. New Caledonia

Taken May 10, 2001 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7. New Caledonia is a French-governed archipelago east of Australia. Its lagoons were added as a World Heritage site in 2008.

newcaledonia

50. Ocean Sand, Bahamas

Taken Jan. 17, 2001 by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7.

Ocean Sand, Bahamas

51. Sakurajima Volcano, Japan

Taken Jan. 10, 2013 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera.

Sakurajima Volcano, Japan

52. Sarychev Volcano

Taken on June 12, 2009 by a member of the International Space Station crew using a Nikon digital camera. Sarychev Volcano is located on Matua Island, part of the Kuril Islands east of Russia and Japan.

Sarychev Volcano

53. Shinmoe-dake Volcano

Taken on Feb. 4, 2011 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite. The Shinmoe-dake Volcano on the island of Kyushu in Japan began erupting on Jan. 26, 2011.

Shinmoe-dake Volcano

54. Phytoplankton Swirls in the Baltic Sea

Taken July 13, 2005 by Landsat 7. These phytoplankton swirls surround the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea

Phytoplankton Swirls in the Baltic Sea

55. New York City on 9/11

Taken Sept. 11, 2001 by a member of the International Space Station.

New York City on 9/11

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