The most amazing pictures NASA took of earth this year


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).

A mix of harvested and ripening agricultural fields in eastern Kazakhstan was captured Sept. 9, 2013 by the Landsat 8 satellite, launched this year by NASA and operated by the USGS. (USGS/NASA).
Supertyphoon Haiyan the day before it made landfall in the Philippines. The coast of the Philippines can be seen outlined on the far left of the image. Captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite on Nov. 7 2013. (NASA).
Running left to right through the center of this image is the scar from the EF-5 tornado that ran through Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013 killing at least 24, injuring 377 and likely topping $2 billion in damages. Captured by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 2, 2013. (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).

A cluster of small images in the far northern reaches of Lake Michigan. Captured on May 24, 2013 by the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite. (Image: USGS/NASA).
In late November, a new volcanic island dubbed Niijima erupted out of the Pacific next to the Japanese island of Nishino-shima, which last erupted in 1974. The image on the left was captured on Dec. 8, 2013 by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The image on the right, captured on Dec. 24 by the same satellite, shows the two islands slowly fusing into one as the new island grows with continued eruptions. (NASA).
This image of clouds off the California coast was captured on Apr. 14, 2013 by NASA’s Terra satellite. (NASA).
This beautiful image of the southern tip of Greenland captured by NASA’s Aqua Satellite on Dec. 30, 2012 (but released to the public on Jan. 6). (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).

The Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia as captured on Jan. 21, 2013 by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. (NASA).
The Black Forest fire that started on June 11, 2013 was Colorado’s most destructive fire in history. Over nine days, the fire burned more than 14,000 acres, killed two people and destroyed more than 500 homes in a Colorado Springs suburb. This false-color image was captured on June 20, 2013 by NASA’s Terra satellite. Unburned grasslands appear pink, unburned forest is red, and the burned area is grey and black. (NASA).
Guadalupe Island, located 150 miles off the tip of Baja California is trailed by von Karman vortices in this image captured on by an astronaut on the International Space Station on Aug. 4, 2013. Gravity waves appear in the upper right of the image. (NASA).
This image of Princess Charlotte Bay in Australia was captured by the NASA/USGS satellite Landsat 8 on April 20, 2013. (USGS/NASA).
This image sand dunes in Australia’s Great Sandy Desert was taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station on Mar. 25, 2013. (NASA).
Sunlight reflects off of the water around the Canary Islands in this image captured by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013. (NASA).
An astronaut on the International Space Station took this photo on Jan. 10, 2013 of an eruption on Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. (NASA).
A huge blizzard approaches the East coast of the United States in this composite image captured by NASA’s GOES-13 satellite on Feb. 9, 2013. (NASA).