Hey lil' spider. Whatcha thinkin' about? Web stuff? Cool. From January 24, 2014. Jimmy Kong via Colossal

Each week at Popular Science, the staff scours the web for the most amazing images from the realms of science and technology. We liked this year’s weekly gallery images so much that we compiled our favorite visualizations, photographs, and illustrations—from the birth of planets 450 light years away to microscopic closeups from within a fruit fly’s eye—into one place for your viewing pleasure.

Think we missed one? Mention us on Twitter or post on Facebook page with the hashtag #BestSciTechImages, and we’ll give you a shout if we add your favorite shot here.

Glass Viruses

Artist Luke Jerram makes blown-glass sculptures of viruses that are up to 1 million times larger than the real thing. Here’s swine flu, as seen after the sneeze of a giant glass pig. From January 3, 2014

Octopus Hug

The research sub Alvin was met by this octopus while exploring the Gulf of Mexico. Personality litmus test: is this a friendly, “Octopus’s Garden”-type octopus, or a menacing, attacking one? From January 3, 2014

Winter Storm

Happy New Year, East Coast! Here is your first winterpocalypse of 2014, as seen from space. From January 3, 2014
Thomas Zakowski takes gorgeous photos of some very cold lighthouses on Lake Michigan. From January 10, 2014 Thomas Zakowski via My Modern Metropolis

Everest From Space

This is Mount Everest, as seen from space. Look how small it is! Dumb mountain. From January 10, 2014

Millennium Falcon

Through clever camera-work, illustrator Vesa Lehtimäki took photos of his kids’ toys, set in the real world. Here’s the Millennium Falcon. From January 17, 2014

Toy Dissections

Attention, Parents of the Year: teach your children about horrifying, mutant anatomy with these sculptures by Jason Freeny. From January 17, 2014

A Fruit Fly Eye

Neuroscientist Karin Panser took this beautiful, rainbow-fied image of a fruit fly’s eye. It took top honors for the Huygens Image Contest 2013, which honors great microscopic images. From January 17, 2014

Oh, God, Help These Poor People

Thoughtful art project, or people trapped by a wizard in a desktop-scanner dimension? It is the latter. Send assistance immediately. Why are you just sitting there? From January 24, 2014

Spider Eyes

Hey lil’ spider. Whatcha thinkin’ about? Web stuff? Cool. From January 24, 2014

Volcanic Ash

This is the Vanuatu Archipelago releasing volcanic smog and ash, as seen from space. From January 24, 2014

Star-Shaped Cataracts

A 42-year-old electrician got star-shaped cataracts after being shocked by 14,000 volts. First one to make a “stars in his eyes” joke loses. From January 31, 2014

Sauron From Space

The Middle-Earth Project, perhaps the nerdiest thing in recent memory, is an attempt to computer-model all of the geography from Tolkien’s novels. Here’s the Eye of Sauron, as seen from space. From January 31, 2014

Spinny Glow Thing

The Spiral Top is a device intended to spin really fast in space and leave a trail of LED light behind. It works! Astronaut Koichi Wakata recently tweeted out some photos of it in action. From January 31, 2014

iPad People

Look at the person nearest to you. I mean really look. Can you say with certainty that this person is not obscuring his or face with an iPad, posing as another person? You can’t. From February 7, 2014


Mantis? More like dance-tis! (I am so, so sorry. There are other images from this competition that maybe you can make better portmanteaus from.) From February 7, 2014

Sochi From Space

The Olympics just started! You could be watching them anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us, and we appreciate that. Here is Sochi, as seen from space. From February 7, 2014

The World’s Oldest Face

In other gross/awesome things news, this is the world’s oldest known face, reconstructed in 3-D. It’s an armored fish called Romundina, 410 million years old, back when faces weren’t such a common trait. From February 14, 2014

High-Speed Foam Photos

Ger Kelliher took this awesome high-speed photo of sea foam. But what is sea foam? We have this answered, just for you. From February 14, 2014

Space Tank

This tank thing will carry NASA’s Space Launch System to the launchpad. It seems like it would be handy in an alien invasion, too. From February 14, 2014

Tron Bike

I may have said other things are “Tron”-like, but this bike, which is an actual thing that will really be produced, was designed by the guy who made the props for “Tron.” It was the sequel. But still. From February 21, 2014

Light-Painting Robot

Design company Everyware built this robot, which twirls a light in a geometric pattern that can be captured by long-exposure photography. From February 21, 2014

The Aurora

@VirtualAstro has been collecting the best photos of the Aurora Borealis and posting them on Twitter. Surprise! They’re stunning. From February 28, 2014

Space Mountains

Ecuador’s highlands are already Sound of Music-level pastoral porn. Turns out they look good from space, too. The false colors in the image represent the geographic changes of the land. From February 28, 2014

Frogs Under The X-Ray

Brandon Ballengée takes surprisingly beautiful x-ray images of deformed frogs, like this leggy fellow. From February 28, 2014

The Matrix In One Frame

MovieDNA takes movies and blends all of the scenes into single-canvas paintings, like so. Twist ending! It was yellow the whole time. From February 28, 2014

Otter Eats An Alligator

Uh, so everything you thought about otters being the cuddliest animal ever is probably torn apart after seeing this image. Crocodiles, beware: you might be next. From March 7, 2014

Rocket Launches Into An Aurora

This blastoff into an aurora may be one of the most beautiful ones ever. From March 7, 2014

Rainbow Smoke

StackExchange challenged coders to write a program that would produce original images where each pixel was a different color. Fejes presented this, a creation that automatically plots colored pixels. From March 7, 2014

Pelican Spider

The only way to justify the Pelican Spider’s existence is for it to exterminate other spiders. Which it does. So we’re good, Pelican Spider. From March 14, 2014

Neon Worms

Alexander Semenov takes photos of exotic worms. You get enough sleep, right? You can afford to wake up in a sweat sometimes. From March 14, 2014

Electrified Film Art

Here’s what happens when you run 15,000 volts through Fujifilm instant film. Pretty nice, eh? There is a Kickstarter for it, natch. From March 14, 2014

The Chimera Apple

It’s almost something straight out of a mythical garden. But the trippy piece of fruit was actually picked out of a tree on Mel Staples’ property in Kingston, southern Tasmania. There’s no confirmation if taking a bite out of the apple causes God’s disappointment and/or deep slumber. From March 21, 2014

‘Alternate Perspectives’

Don’t worry, you’re not being sucked into a vortex and transported to another time and space. These are spherical panoramas captured by Randy Scott Slavin who then digitally manipulated the images to give the “suck in” effect. From March 21, 2014

Volcano Telescope

The gigantic Thirty Meter Telescope will officially be coming to Hawaii after multiple hold ups. The volcanic digs only make it look more super-villain-y. From March 28, 2014

Amazon Skyscraper

This bonkers design for a rainforest skyscraper will almost certainly never get built, but it can’t hurt to dream: the skyscraper would absorb water when it falls, then hold it in case of a rainforest fire. From March 28, 2014

Transparent Skull

A team of Dutch doctors successfully implanted a 3-D printed skull into a woman’s head. Three months after surgery, the 22-year-old woman who had the operation is apparently doing fine. From March 28, 2014

Tiny Octopus

A group (litter? gaggle?) of dwarf octopuses recently hatched at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida. From April 4, 2014

Arctic View

Operation IceBridge is an aerial survey of polar areas. It takes photos like this. It has an awesome name, also. From April 4, 2014

Sculpted Waves

Artist Loris Cecchini freezes wave forms on walls with paint and resin. Maybe we can see Sgt. Pepper instead of listening to it. From April 11, 2014

Clever Owl

Smithsonian magazine announced the winners of its 11th annual photo competition, and this hide-and-go-seek champ was a finalist. From April 11, 2014

El Gordo

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA determined the mass of this far away galaxy, known as “El Gordo,” to be “three million billion times the mass of our sun.” Ooooh. Sick space burn. From April 11, 2014

Invisible Barn

What do you get when you wrap a barn in mylar? You get nothing. From April 18, 2014

Modern Ark

Designers at Remi Studio created this concept for a building that will float away as sea levels rise. Foolishly, it looks like it could hold at best 1.5 of every species. From April 18, 2014

Curiosity’s Tracks

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this photo of Curiosity’s tracks on Mars. Good work, little friend. From April 18, 2014

Tsetse Fly

Scientists have sequenced the genome of the tsetse, the carrier of the lethal sleeping sickness disease. If you’ve never seen one of the flies up close, here’s a look. From April 25, 2014

Pill Bike

This bike concept—yes, it is a bike—is designed to break the world speed record, zooming along at 90 MPH. It also looks like a rubber pill you dropped and lopsided. Or, I don’t know, use your imagination. From April 25, 2014

Coral Reef Art

Artist Courtney Mattison sculpts coral reefs out of porcelain and stoneware, with a beautiful, healthy reef spiraling out into chalky, dead pieces. Not-so-subtle reminder: we are bad to coral reefs. From April 25, 2014

Bridge Cities

A plan for fixing dilapidated Italian motorways would turn bridges like this into miniature cities. Essentially, everyone gets to be a fairy tale troll. From May 2, 2014

New NASA Suit

Here’s the next generation of NASA spacesuits. Nice? Maybe a bit on the danger-Will-Robinson side? From May 2, 2014

Volcanic Plume

NASA’s Aqua satellite snapped this false-color image of volcanic smoke in the South Sandwich Islands. From May 2, 2014


Cleverly timed picture of Osprey in front of NASA logo results in super patriotic photo. From May 9, 2014

Sandcastle Matt

These beautiful but slightly Lovecraftian sandcastles were made by someone with the very un-Lovecraftian name Sandcastle Matt. From May 9, 2014

Glacier Bridge

This absurdly picturesque bridge is in Canada’s Jasper National Park. But, existential question: Is a half-circle bridge really a bridge? Chew on that. From May 9, 2014

Jelly Bean Ants

Here are some ants with transparent abdomens being fed liquid with food coloring. They look like jelly beans and you should definitely eat one. From May 23, 2014

Global Selfie

NASA organized a global selfie mosaic for Earth Day. Little did they know selfies can only harm our beautiful world. From May 23, 2014

The World Cup From Above

Since day one of the World Cup, NASA has released an entire album of aerial views of countries participating in the 2014 World Cup. Can you guess which country is depicted here on the left? (Hint: it’s the host country) From June 13, 2014

LED Train Paintings

With its varied architecture and picturesque views of the Danube River, Budapest is one of the top tourist destinations in Eastern Europe. And when it comes to celebrating holidays, the city’s transport operators don’t mess around: they cover the city’s trolleys with over 30,000 LED lights. The beautiful effect is intensified with a long-exposure photo, like this one. From June 20, 2014

A Scary Virus Looks Surprisingly Elegant

Dengue Fever is particularly nasty to humans. Often called the “bone-breaker” because of how painful it can be (if it doesn’t kill you), the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical regions. Researchers recently made a 3D model of the virus, revealing its “soccer ball-like” shape and symmetrical arrangement of the glycoprotein, which look like hot dogs flecked with sparkles in this image (the specks are actually sugar molecules). When the virus is first introduced, the body’s cells bind to these glycoproteins, which releases the virus’ RNA to infect the host. From June 20, 2014

A Constellation Of Soccer Balls… Found In The Ocean

British photographer Mandy Barker is no soccer bandwagoner–she’s been collecting soccer balls for months for her series titled “Penalty.” But what makes the 769 soccer balls unique is that they are “marine debris” and were picked up from shorelines all over the world. Through her work she intends to demonstrate the severity of plastic pollution in our oceans. From June 20, 2014

A Cool Embrace

When it’s hot out, your body loses more water. That may not be a big deal if you have a bottle of water handy, but it’s a pretty big deal to a koala, whose body is covered in thick fur. To stay cool in hot weather, koalas press their bodies against the cooler branches of the trees on which they spend most of their time. As part of a recent study, researchers took infrared images of the koalas on trees, showing just how much cooler the tree trunks are than the koalas themselves. From June 27, 2014

Confirmed: The World’s Biggest Tetris Game Is World’s Biggest

In April, Drexel University professor Frank Lee played a huge version of the game Tetris on the side of Philadelphia’s Cira Centre skyscraper. This week Guinness World Records confirmed that Lee’s game set the record for the largest architectural video game display. The record Lee beat was, in fact, his own, set in 2013 on the same Philadelphia skyscraper–but then he was playing Pong. From June 27, 2014

Better Than Fireworks

A solar flare is a burst of radiation that erupts from the sun’s atmosphere across every wavelength of the spectrum. Solar flares are scary, and awesome, but rarely do they look so delicately beautiful. This is a composite image taken over the course of three days by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The red, green and blue colorization, added later, is used to designate three different wavelengths of light that act differently during a solar flare. From July 4, 2014

Triple Lightning Storm!

It’s thunderstorm season, and Chicago’s weather is weirder than ever. Local videographer Craig Shimala captured these three simultaneous lightning strikes on the three tallest buildings on the Chicago skyline: Willis Tower, Trump Tower and the John Hancock Building. Insert pun about “shockingly” good shot. From July 4, 2014

In The Air Or Under Water?

When a Russian Soyuz rocket launched in Kazakhstan this week, onlookers were treated to a sight most reminiscent of the deep sea: a rocket plume that resembled a jellyfish. The plume formed when the core-stage rocket expelled its gases in the upper atmosphere where there is little air. The geometric pattern at the top of the plume is caused by the rocket’s four boosters. From July 11, 2014

Inside A Moth’s Eye

This is the eye of the hawkmoth, a native of Europe and Asia. Its body is brightly colored in browns, yellows and pinks even though the hawkmoth doesn’t take flight until late at night. But it turns out that the hawkmoth has some of the best nocturnal vision of any animal. It is able to distinguish a wide array colors at night, conditions under which humans would be totally blind. From July 11, 2014

A Snack For A Seal

In a recent visit to Greece’s azure waters, researcher Joan Gonzalvo came across an uncommon sight: a Mediterranean monk seal, one of the world’s most endangered animals, wrestling with an octopus. Monk seals love to lay in the sun and aren’t easily startled, so they were easy prey for hunters and fishermen as far back as the Roman Empire. Even though it may have been prey in the past, Gonzalvo attests that this particular monk seal was a successful predator, happily munching on its snack of fresh calamari after the tussle. From July 18, 2014

Erosion Under The Stars

Sometimes, you just have to appreciate a beautiful landscape– like this one, of The Wave formation in Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona. An image like this one is actually a composite; the photographer must take a photo of the rocks with enough light, then take a picture of the clear night sky with long ISO and large aperture. Then, she can combine the two. From July 18, 2014

An Opulent Microbial Struggle

On a trip to Death Valley, California, chemist Michael P. Zach collected just a simple salt sample. Once back in the lab, he added a drop of water and put the sample in front of a microscope. The result astonished him: dozens of microbes sprung to life as the crystal dissolved. The bacteria (the dark-colored splotches) must inhibit the expansion of the salt crystal (the rainbow prism), or be locked in the crystal until it gets wet again. That’s why Zach titled his photograph, “Microbe vs. Mineral – A Life and Death Struggle in the Desert.” From July 25, 2014

I Wonder What Those Are For

No, this isn’t a new model of vacuum cleaner. It’s a sea lamprey, a nightmarish type of creature that’s been around for about 300 million years. There are lots of species of lampreys, and not all are parasitic, but this one is particularly vicious/awesome: once it attaches to a victim, the lamprey uses its central, tongue-like structure to gouge a hole in its victim’s flesh. Then it uses its teeth to rasp its way through the various layers of flesh, sometimes making its way all the way through the victim’s body. Once it starts, it’s virtually unstoppable. From July 25, 2014
As part of Princeton University’s Art of Science exhibition, several graduate students submitted this stunning photo and won in the “People’s Choice” category. The photo depicts a cross-section of the fruit fly’s 10 ovarioles, or assembly lines through which eggs (at the lines’ fatter ends), develop from stem cells at the image’s center. From July 25, 2014 Y. Goyal / B. Lim / M. Osterfield / S. Shvartsman / Princeton Art of Science via NBC

A Path Of Desire

In one way or another, we’ve all heard of the path of least resistance, or path of desire. In physics, this means that an object will travel from one point to another in the most efficient way possible. But for quantum particles, the laws of classical physics go out the window. After decades of fine-tuning the right tools and conditions, physicists at Washington University in St. Louis have finally been able to chart a quantum particle’s ideal path of desire. From August 1, 2014

A Lost Locust, Refound

50 years after it was found in the Dominican Republic, well-preserved amber is finally re-emerging from the vaults of the Illinois Natural History Survey. Inside the amber lies a unique array of impeccably-preserved insects that have given researchers new insights into how insects have evolved. In the amber, they discovered a new species of pygmy locust that lived between 18 to 20 million years ago. The locust had vestigial (non-functional) wings, which was a transitional phase between the winged locusts of the past and today’s non-winged varieties. From August 1, 2014

Wild Star-Forming Disks

Planets in a solar system all tend to orbit around the same plane. But for exoplanets outside, orbits are far less predictable; they can behave irregularly or have odd shapes or alignments. But researchers at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile have gotten their first clear glimpse of two young stars with gas clouds that are in very different alignments, despite being a binary system. As the stars in HK Tauri cool, their gas clouds will clump together to form planets, which may be pulled in different directions thanks to the competing gravitational pulls of the misaligned stars. This image is an artist’s rendering of ALMA’s discovery. From August 1, 2014

Super Bright Space Volcano

Jupiter’s biggest and closest moon, Io, is one of the most geologically active planetary bodies in the solar system. But last year researchers at the University of California Berkeley’s Gemini Observatory captured the brightest, most spectacular volcanic eruption to date over the course of 11 days. These recently-published infrared images of the moon show the eruption, in the upper right, and the lava lake Loki is visible in the middle. From August 8, 2014

A Hummingbird, Still

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, photographer Chris Morgan caught up with a particularly fast-paced bird: the hummingbird. With wings that beat between 50 and 200 times per second, hummingbirds have many unique adaptations for flight and speed, including a greater density of feathers, larger pectoral muscles and larger hearts. From August 8, 2014

Rare Panda Babies Are Also Ridiculously Cute

A species that is very much endangered, pandas have an extremely low reproductive rate. Scientists have gone through great pains to artificially inseminate them for decades, often with frustrating (and, occasionally, comedic) outcomes. But on July 29, a panda in the Chimelong Zoo in Guangzhou, China, gave birth to three babies, each smaller than the size of a human palm. They are the only surviving panda triplets; one of the cubs died after the last set was born in 1999. This birth was even more exciting to researchers because conception happened naturally. From August 15, 2014

Midge Swarms Have Small Starts

To most, a cloud of midges is a plague to be avoided. But for researchers studying complex systems at Yale University, it’s an experiment. Using high-speed cameras, the scientists filmed individual flies’ trajectories. What they found, published this week in the _Journal of the Royal Society Interface, _is that midges start to organize into a swarm with just 10 individuals. Studies like this one, which defines swarm behavior by a decreased distance between individuals, reveal that collective group movements are much more complex than scientists thought before. From August 15, 2014

Two-Headed Dolphin Mystifies Scientists

On the Aegean coast near Izmir, Turkey, a few beach-goers were treated to a startling, uncommon sight on Monday: a two-headed dolphin calf washed up on shore. The dolphin is 3.2 feet long and about a year old, although the species is still unknown. Researchers have taken it to a nearby lab to analyze the specimen. From August 15, 2014

Aurora Floors Astronaut

Halfway through his 166-day mission on the International Space Station, astronaut Reid Wiseman has already tweeted some amazing images, from gorgeous weather patterns to more banal (but still awesome looking) repairs on the ISS. But even he was incredulous when he glimpsed a huge aurora glowing many miles above the Earth. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this” he tweeted. Although most of us haven’t seen one quite like this, auroras aren’t uncommon; when enormous amounts of radiation erupt from the sun, the radiation reacts with the upper parts of Earth’s atmosphere, causing the glow that we know as an aurora. To see more of Wiseman’s photos, follow him at @astro_reid. From August 22, 2014

Destruction Made Beautiful

Summer often means forest fires for the west, and this year has been particularly brutal. Uncommon lightning storms combined with unprecedented drought led to wildfires that were nothing like well-seasoned firefighters had seen before. This image is a long exposure of the El Portal wildfire, which raged in California from July 14-24. It’s under control now, but at its peak the fire covered more than five square miles of Yosemite National Park. From August 22, 2014

Hebes Mensa Is Falling Down

On Mars, Hebes Mensa is a mesa that rises three miles above the depression Hebes Chasma. When the Mars Express spacecraft captured an image of it recently, astronomers were suprised to see that part of the mesa had collapsed, shown here in a unique horseshoe shape. No one is quite sure why, or where the material that once filled the chasm has gone. The prevailing theory for the last mystery is that the salty lower sedimentary layers have been seeped into underground aquifers and dissolved in melting ice. The mesa’s collapse may give researchers more clues. From August 22, 2014

Stunning Stinger

The Portuguese man o’ war is named after an 18th century warship. The creature may look like one organism, but it is actually a siphonophore — a colony made up of different individual animals. That means each of its organs is composed of genetically distinct cells. National Geographic has more on the insane biology of these venomous creatures, as well as a collection of gorgeous photos. From August 29, 2014

Quantum Cats

While a normal camera might create a photo using light rays that bounce off an object, a new camera creates an image using photons that have never touched that object. Scientists do it using entangled photons, where the behavior of one photon matches that of another photon, no matter how far apart they are. Researchers have one set of photons scan an object and use their entangled partners to develop an image of that object. From August 29, 2014

Sharp Shooter

The WorldView-3, which has the highest resolution of any commercial satellite, beamed back its first breathtaking images this week. Each pixel captures 40 square centimeters of land. But in six months, pending the relaxation of government restrictions, the photos will become even more detailed with a resolution of 30 centimeters per pixel. That’s fine enough to see home plate at Yankee Stadium. From August 29, 2014

Rainbow Of Destruction

Don’t worry, you haven’t taken any psychedelic drugs. This composite radar image showcases the damage caused by an earthquake that struck California’s Napa Valley on August 24. Generated by Sentinel-1A, the European Space Agency’s radar imaging satellite, the image is an interferogram, blending two images that were taken on August 7 and August 31. According to the ESA, the two round shapes around Napa Valley reveal the ground’s deformation, which causes “changes in radar signals that appear as the rainbow-colored patterns.” From September 6, 2014

A Sizeable Supercluster

Our celestial home just got a whole lot bigger — on the astronomical map, at least. This week, a team of astronomers re-charted the supercluster of galaxies that includes the Milky Way, finding it to be 100 times bigger in volume and mass than previously thought. In a new study, published in the journal Nature, the researchers chronicled the motions of the galaxies, in order to determine the “gravitational landscape” of the local Universe. The team named the enormous supercluster Laniakea – Hawaiian for “immeasurable heaven.” From September 6, 2014

The Heart of the Sun

While NASA was busy recording the sun’s exterior, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were studying the byproducts of the sun’s core. With the aid of a powerful instrument called the Borexino detector (pictured), researchers were able to detect subatomic particles known as neutrinos for the first time ever. These bizarre, tiny particles are formed by the fusion reaction of two protons in the sun’s core; they then travel to Earth at the speed of light, flying through the empty spaces between atoms. Experts have known about their existence for some time, but no one had ever been able to “see” these low-energy neutrinos in real time before. From September 6, 2014

Me And Comet 67-P, J-Chillin’

The Rosetta spacecraft beamed this to Earth on Sunday: an over-the-shoulder selfie with its intended. Visible are the comet toward which Rosetta has travelled for more than a decade, the edge of the craft, and one of its ~46-foot solar panels. The mission team is now reviewing possible landing sites on the comet’s surface. From September 12, 2014

Before ‘Boldly Go’

The first completed crew module for NASA’s new Orion space craft sits on top of its service module at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In December, Orion will ride a Delta IV Heavy rocket to 3,600 miles above Earth. From September 12, 2014

Stellar Afterlife

NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newtown reveal the most complete and detailed X-Ray view of Puppis A, the remains of an ancient supernova, ever recorded. From September 12, 2014

Astounding Auroras

Last week, two solar flares erupted from a giant spot on the sun, sending large outbursts of magnetic fields — called coronal mass ejections — to Earth. While the CMEs had the potential to cause severe geomagnetic storms, they also made for one heck of a show. The magnetic fields, which reached Earth this past weekend, brought auroras as far south as the United States, and many busted out their cameras to capture the spectacular view. This picture is from Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon. From September 19, 2014

Green With Envy

With all the focus on Lake Erie’s algal bloom, it seems as though the Arabian Sea couldn’t let the great lake have all the fun. A phytoplankton named Noctiluca scintillans has taken over a dead zone off the coast of India, creating a bloom the size of Texas. Don’t be fooled by its delightful green color. Experts say the Noctiluca is replacing diatom at the base of the food chain; problem is, no creatures really want to eat it — except sea salps and jellyfish. From September 19, 2014

Small Galaxy, Big Hole

Don’t underestimate little galaxies, because they can pack one big punch. On Wednesday, a team of astronomers recently revealed that the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 is actually home to a giant, supermassive black hole. The momentous discovery goes against the conventional belief that only big galaxies can house giant black holes at their center. With this unveiling, described in the journal Nature, it could mean that the universe is home to many more black holes than previously thought; we just weren’t looking in all the right places. This image is an artist’s illustration of what M60-UCD1’s black hole could look like. From September 19, 2014

Stunning Sahara

Astronaut Alex Gerst shot this image of a dust storm rolling over the Sahara from the International Space Station. Saharan can block or reflect sunlight, leading to changes in cloud formation. This can actually influence Atlantic water and soil in the Americas. From September 26, 2014

Liquid Battery

This room-temperature liquid battery was made with mercury, salt water, and steel foam. High temperature liquid batteries could one day efficiently store solar and wind energy. From September 26, 2014

Dunes Bugging

This image of the Martian surface from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals strange sand dunes. Scientists do not yet know what process formed the dusty ridges. From September 26, 2014

The Navel Of The Earth

This humongous crater is actually a retired diamond mine in Siberia. The 525-meter-deep and 1.2-kilometer-wide pit is the second-largest excavated hole in the world. From October 3, 2014

Artificial Knee Joint

Those may look like worms, but this image is actually a close up of an artificial knee joint, photographed under a Scanning Electron Microscope. The “worms” are loosely woven metal wires which allow for bone to grow into the replacement — melding the organic and synthetic structures together. The lumpy fragments on the wires are pieces of tissue still attached to the man-made joint after being removed from a patient during surgery. From October 3, 2014

The Valley Side Of The Moon

Using gravity maps, scientists have discovered on the moon a rectangular structure buried just below the surface. It’s the size of North America, Europe and Asia combined. They believe the 2,500-kilometer-wide series of intersecting lines was created when the remains of ancient rift valleys filled with lava about 3.5 billion years ago. From October 3, 2014

Walrus World

Dramatic sea ice loss caused Pacific walruses to come ashore in record numbers in September. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spotted an estimated 35,000 walruses on Alaskan beaches during their annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey. From October 3, 2014

Astronaut Selfie

Alexander Gerst takes a selfie on a six-hour spacewalk Tuesday. Gerst and fellow astronaut Reid Wiseman went on their first spacewalk to do some maintenance on the International Space Station. From October 10, 2014

Great White Shark

This up-close-and-personal photograph of a great white shark went viral this week. New Jersey art teacher Amanda Brewer took the shot with a GoPro while volunteering with the animal conservation group White Shark Africa. From October 10, 2014

Total Eclipse

Early Thursday morning the moon underwent a total eclipse. Commentators at the Griffith Observatory said the eclipse was darker red than usual due to factors like the temperature, humidity and dust content of the Earth’s atmosphere. From October 10, 2014

Earth Timelapse

The crew of expeditions 28 and 29 aboard the International Space Station took time lapse sequences of Earth, including this picture of the Pacific. Visit this gallery and this video for more incredible images of our planet in motion. From October 10, 2014

Liquid Droplet After A Laser Blast

In this still from a super-slow-motion youtube video, a laser blasts water droplets into fragments. The research is expected to advance scientists’ understanding of semiconductors, but it doesn’t hurt that it creates some gorgeous imagery in the process. From October 17, 2014

Fusion at Lockheed

Lockheed Martin announced this week a project designed to make nuclear fusion energy, long a dream of scientists and energy policymakers, a viable power source. Their prototype, pictured here, has drawn significant criticism. From October 17, 2014

Jack-O’-Lantern Sun

NASA released this October-appropriate image of the sun last week, showing active regions that mimic a Jack-O’-Lantern’s toothy grin. It’s just a coincidence, but it’s nice to see old Sol getting in on the Halloween action. From October 17, 2014

Cat Nap

Lions bask on a rock in the sunny Serengeti in this image, which won the 2014 Photographer of the Year Award. The photographer, Michael Nichols followed this pride of felines for half a year before capturing the moment. From October 25, 2014

Glowing Mach 3

The YF-12 interceptor aircraft gets tested under conditions experienced at Mach 3 speed. The NASA Flight Loads Laboratory celebrated its 50th birthday this past week. From October 25, 2014

Galactic Wheel Of Life

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveals a 12-billion-years-old galaxy, NGC 1291, lighted up in infrared. The blue stars in the central area of the galaxy are the oldest, while the red outer ring is fertile with new star formation. Nerds will note that the image on the left looks eerily similar to the “Chakram” from Xena: Warrior Princess. From October 25, 2014

Comet Revealed

Examine the surface detail of a comet as never seen before. The Rosetta spacecraft, scheduled to make contact with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12, took this remarkable photo of the “rubber ducky” comet. The image shows the extraterrestrial landscape in high contrast, with sand dunes drifting across the middle. It looks beautiful, but the comet apparently smells awful, like “sharing a horse barn with a drunk and a dozen rotten eggs.” From October 31, 2014

Egmont National Park

From space, New Zealand’s Egmont National Park looks like a stunning green circle centered around the volcano Mount Taranaki, which has lain dormant for more than 150 years. The park is home to a tropical rainforest. From October 31, 2014

Little Earth, Big Moon

With a play on perspective, Earth and the Moon have reversed roles. The picture came from China’s lunar test probe, Chang’e 5TI, during its trip around the moon this week. From October 31, 2014

Fanged Deer

These toothy deer haven’t been seen in 60 years, until this October–just in time for Halloween! Kashmir musk deer may be reminiscent of Dracula but they use their fangs to challenge other males and woo females, not to suck anyone’s blood. Habitat loss and poaching for their musk glands have dramatically shrunk their populations. There were five recent reported sightings of the elusive Kashmir musk deer, but no photographs were taken. The deer pictured above is its cousin, the Siberian musk deer. From October 31, 2014

Fish Inside-Out

The Smithsonian shared a collection of x-rays of underwater creatures. Recognize this eerie eel? It’s Enchelynassa canina — a kind of moray. From November 7, 2014

Planetary Formation By A Distant Star

At the very center of the image above is the sun-like star HL Tau, surrounded by rings of dust and gas. You may never have heard of HL Tau, but this picture will go down in the astronomic annals as the first high-resolution image of the birth of a planetary system. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international observatory in northern Chile, scientists were able to capture this image, showcasing the early stages of a planetary system forming around HL Tau—a celestial ultrasound of a distant solar system. From November 7, 2014

Talented Testes

This microscopic image depicts sperm production in testicles. We know, we know. Gross. But get this: the massive, difficult project to map every protein in the human body — a far more complex task than the Human Genome Project known as the Human Proteome Project — has declared testicles the most protein-productive sites in the entire body. For comparison: So far, scientists have found 318 proteins in the brain, but 999 in the testicles. From November 7, 2014

Roach Broach

Cockroaches may soon do more for humans than raiding our cupboards and skittering across our floors. Researchers are equipping the bugs with microphones and intend to release swarms of them in disaster zones to locate survivors. Electric fences will make sure they stay on the job. From November 17, 2014

A Smooth Liftoff

After being delayed by a day, a test launch of an unmanned Orion crew capsule executed flawlessly this morning. At 7:05 a.m. ET, the capsule was on its way though the earth’s atmosphere, and by 7:30 a.m., it was 3,600 miles away from Earth. In a few decades, the Orion capsule may take the first astronauts to Mars. From December 7, 2014

Molten Metal Orb In Electromagnetic Levitator In Space

Scientists aboard the International Space Station used an electromagnetic levitator to observe how a molten metal ball cools outside the constraints of gravity. From December 7, 2014

Our Galaxy’s Magnetic Field, Revealed

This image, captured by the Planck spacecraft, is one of the first to document the undulations of the Milky Way’s magnetic field. The colors have been altered to show temperature, with the red sections the hottest and the dark blue parts the coldest. From December 7, 2014

Teeth Look Knarly

The human mouth is home to over 300 species of bacteria. The yellow surface of a human tooth is seen up-close and personal in a colored scanning electron micrograph, blanketed in blue-colored bacteria and red blood cells. From December 7, 2014

The Olympus BioScapes Competition

These weevils took fourth place the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition this year. Check out the other winners here. From December 20, 2014

Howling Heat

How cool is this? As part of a project to keep track of Yellowstone wolves’ health, scientists have been studying them with thermal cameras. This image by Paul Cross shows a pair howling. From December 20, 2014

Niger, Feb. 13, 2013 – Arlit Uranium Mine

The commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe is showing off its favorite images of the year in a special competition. You can check out the full set here. From December 20, 2014