20 Cool Pictures of Earth from Space

20 cool pictures of Earth from Space thanks to National Geographic and a collection of amazing photographers.

Bombetoka Bay
Photograph courtesy Terra/ASTER/NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
Sapphire waters tinged with pink sediment seem to get tangled amid emerald vegetation in a satellite picture of Bombetoka Bay, on the northwestern coast of Madagascar. To celebrate Earth Day—which today received the ultimate Internet accolade, a Google Doodle—National Geographic photo editors selected 20 of the most stunning pictures of Earth, as seen from space, including this jewel-toned shot of the island country off the African coast.

Captured in 2000 by a NASA satellite, the scene shows where the salty waters of the Mozambique Channel mingle with freshwater outflow from the island's Betsiboka River. Bombetoka Bay is home to some of Madagascar's largest mangrove forests, which provide shelter for diverse mollusks and crustaceans as well as habitat for sea turtles, water birds, and dugongs.

Volcano Bubble
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
A "bubble" of steam surrounds volcanic ash rising from Sarychev Volcano, on the northwestern end of Matua Island, in a June 2009 picture taken by an astronaut.

Painted Desert
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
In the Simpson Desert of central Australia, a recent fire is revealed by the vivid orange scars of plant-free sand seen in this 2002 astronaut photograph.

Aurora Over Earth
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
During a geomagnetic storm, a neon green ribbon of aurora australis danced over Earth in this 2010 photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Circles of Life
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
Fields near the city of Perdizes, in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil, are seen in a 2011 astronaut photograph.

Model City
Photograph courtesy Space Imaging and NASA Earth Observatory
A fog-free San Francisco is seen in this 2004 oblique-angle satellite photograph.

Blue Planet
Photograph courtesy NASA
Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas is seen in a 2002 astronaut photograph taken from the International Space Station.

Reflections on a Disaster
Photograph courtesy NASA EO-1 and NASA Earth Observatory
Spilled oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is seen offshore of Petit Bois Island and Horn Island in eastern Mississippi in a June 2010 satellite picture.

Web of Light
Photograph courtesy NASA
Seen in a 2003 astronaut photograph, the city of São Paulo, Brazil - home to 17 million people - stands out like a beacon in the night. The variations in color are due to the city using different types of streetlights, according to NASA.

Circulation System
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
Tidal flats and channels on the western side of the Bahamas' Long Island are seen in a 2010 astronaut photograph.

Thunderstorm Over Asia
Photograph courtesy NASA
A thunderstorm hovers over Asia in a 1999 astronaut photograph taken from the space shuttle Columbia. Although the precise location of the storm isn't known, the shuttle was passing over Myanmar (Burma) at the time the picture was taken.

Scenic Routes
Photograph courtesy NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
The ever shifting Rio Negro and many of its past paths curl across the Patagonia region of Argentina in a 2010 astronaut photograph taken from the International Space Station.

Caustic Waters
Photograph courtesy ASTER/JAXA/NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
Vivid Lake Natron in Tanzania - said by NASA to be the world's most caustic body of water - is a threatening shade of orange in a 2005 satellite image. Despite its reputation, the lake manages to host a native species of fish, the alkaline tilapia.

March to the Sea
Photograph courtesy EO-1/NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
The Neumayer Glacier on South Georgia Island, east of the southern tip of South America, creeps ever closer to the ocean in a 2009 satellite image.

Made by Meteorite
Photograph courtesy Landsat/USGS
In a satellite image released in 2004, salty seasonal lakes are brightly evident within the Shoemaker impact structure—at 1.7 billion years old, the oldest known meteorite-impact site in Australia.

Sea Snakes
Photograph courtesy CNES/Spot Image/ESA
Gullies slithering through sandbanks are seen in the Wadden Sea, near the Netherlands, in a 2006 satellite image.

Iceberg Nursery
Photograph courtesy EO-1/NASA and NASA Earth Observatory
In a 2010 satellite picture, the Matusevich Glacier calves new icebergs into an Antarctic channel, which cuts between the Lazarev Mountains and the Wilson Hills.

Desert's End
Photograph courtesy NASA via NASA Earth Observatory
In Eastern Algeria's stretch of the Sahara, the Tifernine Dune Field - a section of the Grand Erg Oriental dune sea - meets the Tinrhert Plateau, as seen in a 2008 astronaut photograph.

Cloud Vortices
Photograph courtesy Terra/MODIS/NASA
Cloud vortices, or von Kármán vortices, create patterns in the sky near the Cape Verde Islands off northwestern Africa. The vortices are caused by wind rushing over the islands.

Fresh Flows
Image courtesy IKONOS/NASA
Fresh, dark lava flows cover the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea, on the Big Island, as seen in a 2003 satellitepicture . Kilauea is said to be home to the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele.

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