NASA’s fleet of satellites and its astronauts aboard the International Space Station took a slew of incredibly beautiful images of Earth this year. From erupting volcanoes and wildfire scars to idyllic islands and surreal cloud formations, here are our favorites. Above, Pavlof volcano in the Aleutian arc erupts in this image captured by astronauts on the International Space Station on May 18, 2013. Below, the eruption plume extends over the Pacific ocean. (NASA).
The burn scar from the Rim fire that burned moew than 255,000 acres in the Yosemite area in August can be seen in grey in the image above. This image was captured on Sept. 16, 3013 by the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite. The map below shows the outline and progression of the fire. (Image: USGS/NASA. Map: Robert Simmon, NASA).
The Bingham Canyon Mine near Salt Lake City, Utah is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, measuring 2.5 miles a cross and almost 4,000 feet deep. The mine’s major product is copper, but it also produces gold, silver and molybdenum. The image above shows the aftermath of the largest landslide in North American history, which struck the mine on Apr. 10, 2013. This image was captured by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) three weeks after the slide on May 2, 2013. Below, the view is compared to an image from 2011. (NASA).
The Landsat 8 satellite, launched by NASA and operated by the USGS, spotted new deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon on Aug. 28, 2013 after American scientists received a tip from colleagues in South America. The comparison below shows the same region in 2012. (NASA/USGS).