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The 28 Most Breathtaking Science Photos From 2014

The universe is an amazing place.

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

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

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

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

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

6. A jellyfish eating another jellyfish.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

17. This dumbo octopus.

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

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.

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

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

23. This sword-billed hummingbird.

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

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

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

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

28. And Rick Mastracchio's space selfie.