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Earth as Art: Incredible Satellite Images

By: Camille Mann
Published: April 22, 2013

Erg Chech, Algeria, Africa

Erg Chech, Algeria, Africa

Seen through the eyes of a satellite sensor, ribbons of Saharan sand dunes seem to glow in sunset colors. (Photo and Caption Courtesy of NASA/USGS/Flickr)

  • Erg Chech, Algeria, Africa
  • Erg Iguidi, Algeria, Africa
  • Lake Eyre, Australia
  • Himalayas, Central Asia
  • Meandering Mississippi, United States
  • Dardzha Peninsula, Turkmenistan
  • Great Salt Desert, Iran
  • Anti-Atlas Mountains, Morocco
  • Mississippi River Delta, United States
  • Edrengiyn Nuruu, Mongolia
  • Von Karman Vortices, Southern Pacific Ocean
  • Foxe Basin, Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic
  • Sand Hills, United States
  • Byrd Glacier, Antarctica
  • Tikehau Atoll, French Polynesia
  • Ice Waves, Greenland
  • Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Tanzania
  • Gravity Waves, Above the Indian Ocean
  • Niger River, Mali
  • Pinacate Volcano Field, Mexico
  • Susitna Glacier, United States
  • Anyuyskiy Volcano, Russia
  • Rub' al Khali, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
  • Syrian Desert, West Asia
  • Akpatok Island, Canada
  • Wadi Branches, Jordan
  • Shoemaker Crater, Australia
  • Lena River Delta, Russia
  • Cape Farewell, New Zealand
  • Triple Junction, East Africa
  • Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, Mexico
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana
  • Ribbon Lakes, Russia
  • Belcher Islands, Canada
  • Gotland, Sweden, Baltic Sea
  • Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria
  • Algerian Desert, Algeria
  • Zagros Mountains, Iran
  • Mount Elgon, Kenya and Uganda
  • Belcher Islands, Canada
  • Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico
  • MacDonnell Ranges, Australia
  • Dasht-e Kavir, Iran
  • Ugab River, Namibia
  • Jebel Uweinat, Egypt
  • Richat Structure, Mauritania
  • Kuril Islands, Sea of Okhotsk
  • Bogda Mountains, China
  • Chaunskaya Bay, Russia
  • Terkezi Oasis, Chad
  • Erongo Massif, Namibia
  • Alluvial Fan, China
  • Caicos Islands
  • Musandam Peninsula, Oman
  • Painted Desert, United States
  • South Georgia Island, South Atlantic Ocean
  • Mayn River, Russia
  • Carbonate Sand Dunes, Atlantic Ocean
  • Desolation Canyon, United States
  • Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cap, Iceland
  • Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa
  • Rocky Mountain Trench, Canada
  • La Rioja, Argentina
  • Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar
  • Three Massifs, Sahara Desert
  • Garden City, United States
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Namib Desert, Namibia
  • Parana River Delta, Argentina
  • Fjords, Norway
  • Southern Sahara Desert, Africa
  • Carnegie Lake, Australia
  • East African Rift, Kenya
  • Volcanoes, Chile and Argentina
  • Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
  • Rub’ al Khali, Arabian Peninsula
  • Lake Disappointment, Australia
  • Brandberg Massif, Namibia
  • Tibetan Plateau, Central Asia
  • Grand Bahama Bank, Atlantic Ocean
  • Mississippi River, United States
  • Aleutian Clouds, Bering Sea
  • Nazca Lines, Peru
  • Phytoplankton Bloom, Baltic Sea

Earth Day reminds us to appreciate the beauty of our planet. And though you may not think of the Earth as a work of art, the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA’s "Earth as Art" collection illustrates the surreal splendor of Mother Nature through the eyes of satellites.

In 1960, the U.S. launched its first environmental satellite. According to NASA, sensors on these satellites capture an extensive amount of light, which provide a unique perspective of our planet and shows more than what is visible to the naked eye.

After seeing Earth’s natural artistic beauty from above, NASA and USGS compiled various images from the satellites into a free e-book titled “Earth As Art.”

Inside the book are 75 photos of the world’s awe-inspiring magnificence as seen in patterns of the Great Salt Desert in Iran, a phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Sea, the Ribbon Lakes in Russia and more.

"The images are intended for viewing enjoyment rather than scientific interpretation," reads NASA's website. "The beauty of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to the sublime."

The collection above features images captured by the Terra, Landstat 5, Landsat 7, EO-1 and Aqua satellites. For more information, please visit NASA's website or go to USGS.gov.

MORE: Waves Like You've Never Seen Before!

In this collection a Southern California photographer captures stunning photos of waves and the light reflected off of them. (David Orias)


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