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Updated on Sep 2, 2020. Posted on Dec 21, 2016

27 Of The Most Amazing Science Photos Of 2016

The International Space Station, sharks, and a multicoloured lizard with a stick.

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NASA/Goddard/Operation IceBridge

Chunks of sea ice, melt ponds, and open water seen from 1,500 feet on July 16.

NASA/John Sonntag / Via nasa.gov

A rift in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, photographed on Nov. 10.

Royal Saskatchewan Museum / RC McKellar

Ninety-nine-million-year-old dinosaur tail feathers, preserved in amber.

Sally Ride EarthKAM / NASA / Via nasa.gov

Part of the Sahara desert in western Libya, taken from the International Space Station on Oct. 3.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

Valleys on Mars, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Phred Petersen / Royal Photography Society International Images for Science / Via rps-science.org

The invisible turbulence of hot air rising from a small liquid-fuelled camp stove. Schlieren photography allows us to see and record the refractive index differences between the hot air from the flame and the cooler ambient air in the surrounding environment. One of the winners of the Royal Photography Society's International Images for Science awards, supported by Siemens.

NASA / Via jpl.nasa.gov

The Curiosity Mars rover taking a selfie.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts on board lands in Kazakhstan on Oct. 30.

Porrawee Pomchote / WWF

New newt species Tylototriton anguliceps discovered in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia and announced in a World Wildlife Fund report in December.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Center / X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Amsterdam/N.Rea et al; Optical: DSS

Astronomers found evidence for what is likely one of the most extreme pulsars, or rotating neutron stars, ever detected. This composite image shows RCW 103 in X-ray and optical light.

David J. Bird / British Ecological Society

A Cuban emerald hummingbird, Chlorostilbon ricordii. This photograph was the overall winner in the 2016 British Ecological Society photography competition.

Ciara Stafford / British Ecological Society

A caterpillar in its final minutes, during a wasp attack and after its back erupted with parasitoid pupae. The drop of liquid is haemolymph – the equivalent of blood for a caterpillar. This photograph was the student winner in a category of the 2016 British Ecological Society photography competition.

Eleanor Ryder / Royal Photography Society International Images for Science / Via rps-science.org

Microbeads, tiny bits of plastic found in cosmetics that are too small for treatment systems to remove from waste water and that harm marine life, taken from a type of eyeliner. The image is taken from a photography project studying the effects of microplastics on the environment.

Andre Castellan / Royal Photography Society International Images for Science / Via rps-science.org

Ants eating food colouring with sugar, turning blue from the liquid ingestion.

Yevhen Samuchenko / Royal Photography Society International Images for Science / Via rps-science.org

The Milky Way above an ocean of cloud, taken at 4,400m altitude in the Himalayas.

Anup Deodhar / Royal Photography Society International Images for Science / Via rps-science.org

"Warrior of the Grassland": a fan-throated lizard, a highly territorial creature, on guard to protect its territory. Image taken in Maharashtra state, India, in summer, the lizards' breeding season.

ESA / Hubble / NASA / Via spacetelescope.org

The Crab Nebula – a vast cloud of gas, formed by an exploding star 2,600 years ago and 1,600 light years away – seen through the Hubble telescope in October.

Montri Sumontha / WWF

The Phuket horned tree agamid, Acanthosaura phuketensis, was recently discovered among the few remaining forest patches on the popular Thai tourist island of Phuket.

Julius Nielsen / Via buzzfeed.com

A Greenland shark, a kind of sleeper shark. These huge, slow-moving creatures move gently around the deep Atlantic. A study this year discovered that they are the longest-living known vertebrates, with one specimen being recorded at at least 392 years old.

NASA / ESA / Hubble

Small star clusters orbiting a lenticular galaxy, NGC 5308. "Small" is a relative term: Each cluster contains hundreds of thousands of stars.

Igor Siwanowicz / Nikon Small World 2016 / Nature / Via nature.com

The end of a diving beetle's leg, seen in false colour under a microscope. It's about 2mm long and is used to attach to a female's back during sex.

Randy Olson / National Geographic / Via nationalgeographic.com

Sandhill cranes on their long migration from Siberia to Mexico shelter in Nebraska during a storm. From National Geographic's best pics of the year.

NASA / Via nature.com

Lightning flashes and city lights are seen from the International Space Station, with two Russian spacecraft in the foreground.

Thomas P. Peschak / National Geographic / Via nationalgeographic.com

Blacktip reef sharks lounge in a few inches of low-tide water in a bay in the Seychelles.

Brian Skerry / copyright Brian Skerry / Via nationalgeographic.com

Tiger sharks in the northern Bahamas, in a place known as "Tiger Beach".

Natasha Hurley-Walker / GLEAM Team / Via nature.com

A radio-frequency image of the universe, taken by the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) radiotelescope in the Australian Outback.

Charlie Hamilton James / National Geographic / Via nationalgeographic.com

Ruppell's Griffon vultures (Gyps rueppellii) and African whitebacked vultures (Pseudogyps africanus) eat the remains of a zebra in the Serengeti.


Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Kelly Oakes at kelly.oakes@buzzfeed.com.

Tom Chivers is a science writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Tom Chivers at tom.chivers@buzzfeed.com.

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