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The 28 Most Breathtaking Science Photos From 2014

The universe is an amazing place.

by , ,

1. This picture of high-energy X-rays streaming off the sun.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC / Via jpl.nasa.gov

2. Lightning striking near the erupting Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in Chile.

Francisco Negroni / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 / Via nhm.ac.uk

3. Migrating wildebeest trying to cross the Mara River in the Serengeti, Tanzania.

Nicole Cambré /National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest / Via photography.nationalgeographic.com

4. An actual picture of planets forming around a star 450 light-years away.

ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

5. This out-of-this-world aurora over the White Sea.

Alexander Semenov / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: a_semenov

6. A jellyfish eating another jellyfish.

Alexander Semenov / Via Flickr: a_semenov

7. The structure of the Milky Way's magnetic field, as measured by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite.

ESA/Planck Collaboration. Acknowledgment: M.-A. Miville-Deschênes / Via esa.int

8. String-like Ebola virus emerging after multiplying inside an infected cell, as pictured by ZEISS Microscopy.

Heinz Feldmann, Peter Jahrling, Elizabeth Fischer and Anita Mora, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health/ZEISS Microscopy/Creative Commons / Via Flickr: zeissmicro

9. These common frogs mating in Sweden, photographed by Anton Lilja.

Anton Lilja / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 / Via nhm.ac.uk

10. The Holuhraun lava field in Iceland (in false colour infrared and natural colour).

Jesse Allen/Landsat 8 - OLI/http://U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Earth Observatory
Jesse Allen/Landsat 8 - OLI/http://U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Earth Observatory
Jesse Allen/Landsat 8 - OLI/http://U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Earth Observatory

11. An ancient skull from the Paracas culture in Peru.

12. Up to 35,000 walruses, forced ashore in Point Lay, Alaska, due to a lack of sea ice on which to rest.

Corey Accardo/NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML / Handout via Reuters

13. This X-ray projection of a brown long-eared bat.

Chris Thorn xrayartdesign.co.uk / Wellcome Images / Creative Commons / Via wellcomeimages.org

14. These solar flares erupting from the Sun back in August.

NASA/SDO / Via nasa.gov

15. The fossil of a primitive bird, Confuciusornis sanctus, that existed 125 to 120 million years ago.

16. The world’s smallest solid gold smiley, from the UWO Nanofabrication Facility.

Todd Simpson/UWO Nanofabrication Facility/ZEISS Microscopy/Creative Commons / Via Flickr: zeissmicro

17. This dumbo octopus.

NOAA Ocean Explorer / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: oceanexplorergov

18. This "dual energy computed tomography angiography" scan of a mechanical heart pump in a human chest.

Anders Persson / Via wellcomeimages.org

19. Hurricane Vongfang, pictured from the International Space Station by astronaut Reid Wiseman.

20. A young great white shark after it fought and failed to escape from a hook.

Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 / Via nhm.ac.uk

21. An award-winning picture of an aurora over a lagoon in Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park.

James Woodend / National Maritime Museum / Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014

22. Ten thousand galaxies evolving in the early life of the universe, the most detailed ever seen by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field project.

NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)

23. This sword-billed hummingbird.

Jan van der Greef / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 / Via nhm.ac.uk

24. The kilometer-high cliffs of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, as seen by the Rosetta spacecraft.

ESA / Rosetta spacecraft / NAVCAM / Stuart Atkinson / Creative Commons / Via apod.nasa.gov

25. This award-winning photo of jumping spider eyes.

Noah Fram-Schwartz / Via nmacro.com

26. Lightning strikes three buildings at the same time in Chicago.

Craig Shimala / Via Instagram: @cshimala

27. Ghostly 40,000-year-old handprints from a cave wall in Indonesia – the oldest such stencil art found anywhere in the world.

Kinez Riza / Nature

28. And Rick Mastracchio's space selfie.

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