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2014's Most Awe-Inspiring Photos

As 2014 is coming to a close, I’ve collected 50 of the most fantastic scientific photos taken this year. These are the first 25, focusing mainly on wildlife and the power of nature, as well as humanity’s influence over it. These photos are so incredible; they can captivate your imagination, as well as your innocent curiosity.

If you want to see a much larger version, just click on the image and will open up in a new window with the full-sized picture.

Taken on January 23rd, this satellite image of the Mt, Sinabung eruption in Indonesia can be used by government agencies to organize effective evacuations and rescue efforts.

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Taken at the end October, this is a slow flow of molten lava, creeping into a residential area on the island of Hawaii.

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An amazing macro image of a beetle’s carapace, taken by Charles Krebs for the Nikon “Small World” photography contest.

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Unlike the 1912 freeze, in 2014 Niagara Falls did not freeze over completely, yet the polar vortex that hit North America did cause the freezing temperature to leave us with astounding images. 

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By combining infrared, near-infrared, and ultraviolet images of the Betsiboka River in Madagascar as it spills into the Bombetoka Bay, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, an environmentalist and aerial photographer, created this otherworldly image.

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An incredible close-up image of a mosquito larva, taken by Charles Krebs for the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. The photographer used a technique called “dark field microscopy”.

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The best true-color image ever captured of the universe, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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One of the only two known species of Spirobranchus, which is a type of fanworm, taken by Alexander Semonov. In 2015, Mr. Semonov will head the Aquatilis Expidition, meant to document new marine life around the world.

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The winning photo of the 2014 Astronomy Photography of the Year competition was taken by James Woodend and shows the hypnotic green hues of the Aurora Borealis in the Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland.

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Taken on October 23rd in Venezuela, this image of lightning striking by where the Cararumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo, by the village of Ologa. The region is considered to be the lightning capital of the world.

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Grand Prize Winner of the London Natural History Museum 2014 Wildlife Photography competition, Michael Nichols, took this spectacular black-and-white picture of a pride of lions, snoozing in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

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Taken in York, Nebraska, this incredible photo of a supercell storm, amassing over a truck stop was taken by photographer Mike Hollingshead, a famous storm-chaser.

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Another entry in the Nikon “Small World” contest, this photo is magnified 40 times to show us a microscopic critter called a ‘rotifer’. These tiny creatures are less than half a millimeter long and live mainly in freshwater.

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Taken on January 31st by the NASA Curiosity Mars rover, this photo shows us Earth from a distance of 99 million miles away. The picture was dubbed by NASA “Look Back in Wonder”.

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While exploring the deep-sea ecosystem of the North-American Atlantic Coast, the Okeanos Explorer ship photographed the elusive chrimaera, also known as “Ghost Shark”.

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Taken on July 8th, in La Jolla, California, you can see a gigantic school of anchovies as they keep their distance from local surfers.

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The sun was very active this year, producing many stunning occurrences of auroras. This one was taken in Norway, by photographer Yannis Behrakis.

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These are the Proxy Falls in the Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon. The spectacular shot of the moss-covered falls was one of the winners in the Smithsonian Wilderness Forever photography competition.

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An honorable mention from National Geographic’s 2014 Photo Contest. Taken by Prashant Meswani in London’s Richmond Park and is titled “Stag Deer Bellowing”.

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Taken in the wetlands of Brazil’s Pantanal, titled “Apex Predators” was one of the top photos in the BBC photographer of the year competition.

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Another honorable mention from National Geographic’s 2014 Photo Contest, was “Muscle Power”, taken by Archna Singh in Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India.

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A finalist in the Nature Conservancy Photo Contest, this photograph of a Colored Parson’s Chameleon was taken in Madagascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

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This grizzly bear, caught mid-jump in an icy-cold river, won Tin Man Lee the Smithsonian “Nature’s Best Photography” award. The photograph was taken in Alaska’s Katmai National Park.

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What looks like a spectacularly beautiful shot of purple water, turns into the terrible realization that the cause of these amazing colors is the pollution in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal.

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A spectacular picture of the Holy Land, taken on December 25, showing the region to be sunny and completely free of clouds. The photo was taken by Astronaut Barry Wilmore, who woke up early on Christmas morning to snap some images and share them with the world.

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For part 2, click HERE.

H/T: businessinsider.com
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