These are the best photos of Earth ever taken from space

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 20th anniversary of NASA’s Earth observatory, the agency asked the public to vote on the best images of Earth.

Ater a five-round tournament and more than 50,000 votes, the readers have chosen their favorite — a 2001 photo of Ocean Sand, Bahamas, taken by Serge Andrefouet, a remote sensing specialist at the University of South Florida.

Credit: NASA

Fortunately for anyone with an eye for aesthetics, NASA also shared its runners-up.

‘Fire in the Sky and on the Ground’ (2011)

Credit: NASA

Astronauts on the International Space Station shared hundreds of photos of the aurora australis, or “southern lights,” while passing over the Indian Ocean.

Raikoke Erupts’ (2019)

Credit: NASA

Scientists captured this unexpected series of blasts from a remote volcano in the Kuril Islands. It sent ash and volcanic gases high over the Pacific Ocean.

‘Where the Dunes End’ (2019)

Credit: NASA

This photo shows the mountains of sand, sometimes as tall as 300 meters (984 feet), on the floor of Africa’s Namib Desert.

‘Paris at Night’ (2015)

Credit: NASA

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took this photo of the Paris at night — and it’s no wonder it’s known as the City of Lights.

For more stunning images of the Earth from afar, check out the video above.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30th anniversary.

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