Satellite observations paint the planet in a new light.
Since the 1970s, a series of Landsat satellites operated by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have taken images of Earth from space. The ongoing record gives scientists the ability to monitor land-based changes and see the impact of natural events and soaring human populations around the world. But in addition to their practical applications, many of the images are simply stunning to look at. By combining different wavelengths of light—some invisible to the human eye—ordinary views of clouds, mountains or rivers are transformed into museum-quality works of art. Here are five striking scenes created from Landsat satellite observations.