Gorgeous Satellite Images Show Earth As Other-Wordly Art

US caribbean image

Images via USGS via Flickr CC

Our planet is beautiful. But while we may be used to breathtaking panoramics, satellites often catch a beauty that is completely foreign to us. The USGS has put together a gallery titled Earth As Art 3 that is on display in the Library of Congress, and the "paintings" are something that will have you staring for hours. Check more of these unusual images. Last year, USGS showed off images of Earth As Art, and they're back with a new gallery set. io9 brought us to the image depicting the sharp line between earth and forest, and it took about two seconds to get lost in the gallery of amazing photos. For example, this one of the Mississippi:

US mississippi image

or this "Van Gogh from Space":

US van gogh image

NASA Goddard Photo and Video writes, "In the style of Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night," massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants."

To see basic functions of the earth in such a way proves how extraordinary our planet really is. And, how it is constantly hanging:

US arctic ice image

"Along the southeastern coast of Greenland, an intricate network of fjords funnels glacial ice to the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer melting season, newly calved icebergs join slabs of sea ice and older, weathered bergs in an offshore slurry that the southward-flowing East Greenland Current sometimes swirls into stunning shapes. Exposed rock of mountain peaks, tinted red in this image, hints at a hidden landscape."

Above is ice, and below is Erg Iguidi, an area of ever-shifting sand dunes in northwestern Africa.

US desert sand image

What is extra cool is you can order poster prints of these amazing images, like this one titled "Spilled Paint" that shows the landscapes of Iran's desert.

US iran desert image

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