What a wonderful world

NASA reveals its all-time best Earth images as voted by the public

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Earth Observatory, as well as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, NASA invited the public to nominate their favourite images of Earth from the Earth Observatory library.

(The Earth Observatory is an online publishing outlet for images, stories and discoveries that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research and climate models.)

Over 56,000 votes were cast over five rounds in “Tournament Earth”, and the winner was announced on Tuesday.

The winning image was Ocean Sand, Bahamas, an otherwordly image of sand and seaweed beds sculpted by tides and ocean currents in the Bahamas. The artistic false-colour rendering was captured in 2001 by Serge Andrefouet, a remote sensing specialist from the University of Florida, using the Landsat 7 satellite.

Ocean Sand, Bahamas by Serge Andrefouet
Ocean Sand, Bahamas (cropped). Tides and ocean currents have sculpted the sand and seaweed beds into multicolored, fluted patterns.

The image was runner-up in the 10th anniversary contest, but was crowned the winner on this occasion with 66.2% of the final votes.

The runner-up this time was a photo of an erupting Raikoke Volcano, situated on the Kuril Islands off the east coast of Russia. The volcanic plume was photographed by astronauts on the morning of June 22, 2019. A rare event, the last eruption of Raikoke occurred in 1924 and, prior to that, in 1778.

Raikoke Volcano
Raikoke Erupts (cropped). An unexpected series of blasts from a remote volcano in the Kuril Islands sent ash and volcanic gases streaming high over the North Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy more of the internet’s favourite images of Earth here.