Earth Matters

Help Earth Observatory Choose Our All-Time Best Image

March 3rd, 2020 by Mike Carlowicz

Since its launch on the web in April 1999, NASA Earth Observatory has published more than 15,500 image-driven stories about our planet. In celebration of our 20th anniversary — as well as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — we want you to help us choose our all-time best image.

For now, we need you to help us brainstorm: what images or stories would you nominate as the best in the Earth Observatory collection? Do you go for the most beautiful and iconic view of our home? the most newsworthy? the most scientifically important? the most inspiring?

Search our site and then post the URLs of your favorite Earth images in the comments section below. Please send your ideas by March 17.

In late March 2020, we will include some of your selections in Tournament Earth, a head-to-head contest to vote for the best of the best from our archives. Each week, readers will pick from pairs of images as we narrow down the field from 32 nominees to one champion. 

The all-time best Earth Observatory image will be announced on April 29, 2020, the end of our anniversary year.

If you want some inspiration as you begin your search, take a look at the galleries listed below. Or use our search tool (top left) to find your favorite places, images, and events.

Top 10 Images from 1999-2009

Earth at Night / Night Lights

EO On This Day  

Earth: A Photo Essay  

World of Change  

The Blue Marble Collection

Earth from Afar  

National Parks from Space

Global Maps

Applied Sciences  

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67 Responses to “Help Earth Observatory Choose Our All-Time Best Image”

  1. Lika L. Levi says:

    I definitely like picture 1 – A View of Earth from Saturn.

    It makes you gasp and leaves you breathless.

  2. Fritz Goebel says:

    I’d like to nominate this photo of the Moon passing between the camera and the Earth. It was the Image of the Day on August 15, 2015.

    • Scott Burgett says:

      I was about to nominate this image then saw it already as a nominee. I think it’s beautifully fascinating and use it as a screen saver. Imagining how often this view has been provided for us to see here on earth is reason enough to make it awe inspiring.

  3. Deirdre O'Brien says:

    I suggest under “World of Change” the changing sea ice in the Arctic or Antarctic. I think global warming is the overriding problem of current times.

    • Werner Stolz says:

      I would like to support: “Under “World of Change” the changing sea ice in the Arctic or Antarctic. I think global warming is the overriding problem of current times”.

  4. Charles St-Hilaire says:

    Thank you very much for sharing all that wonderful content.
    Earth matter!

  5. Geoffrey Heberlein says:

    I have enjoyed the Earth Observing site for years. All the images are great and each tells a great story. Keep it up, We are out here enjoying the trip

  6. Florin Tartan says:

    A Pale Blue Dot
    Carl Sagan: “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

    • Rich Pelto says:

      The most profound image and message I have seen and heard. God Bless Carl Sagan.

  7. Mary Wall says:

    Auroras light up the Antarctic night

    The photo was too cool to believe!

  8. Bob Armao says:

    I nominate

    Warm Weather Brings Major Melting to Greenland
    from approximately 20 2019. Climate change is the
    most critical crisis of our time — and future. Presenting
    the evidence visually is very convincing to any
    clear-thinking person — in my opinion.

  9. Jane Doe says:

    A story and picture that shows hope for the future rather than dread…

  10. Carol Edwards says:

    How can one choose amongst so many? Your pictures have taught, informed, pleased, and marvelled. They have confirmed what the old mapmakers drew which is surprising but shouldn’t be. I love maps and what your pictures show me. Please keep on,

  11. Gavin O'Brien says:

    I agree with Carol, how can you pick one from so many fantastic shots of our home, planet Earth. As a climatologist I despair at times when I see the exploitation and destruction we are causing. Our summer bush fire conflagration in Eastern Australia is too horrible to contemplate.

  12. Stéphane Roy says:

    Congratulation EO!

    On the right place at the rigth time!

  13. Mihaela Stretea says:

    Earth -The Blue Marble is my choice :amazing and spectacular views of our home planet .Unique and magical dance of colours

  14. Richard Wagener says:

    I also like the DSCOVR perspective of the Earth/Moon system. It shows how dark the moon really is because it’s the only time we see it against a background that is not pitch black.
    Other unique perspectives I like are the reimagined Earth rise from lunar orbit and the Cassini view from the far-side of Saturn, but that should really be disqualified as an “Earth Observatory” scene, because it is more about the beauty of Saturn’s rings.

  15. Klaas Punt says:

    I used to collect the images but not anymore. I think this is a fantastic resource, both astronomical pictures and sky/cloud pictures are very much appreciated.

  16. Anton Kunneke says:

    I enjoyed the article on plume height of Kilauea.

  17. Mario Farrugia says:

    Hello EO! There are a lot of stupendous images, but I would choose the classic earthrise from Apollo 8

    Why? It is the picture which first revealed to our species the Earth’s perspective in space. It showed, and still shows, how fragile and finite our true and only global home is, and therefore how urgent is the need to preserve it. The stark contrast of our beautiful blue planet with the barren lunar surface provides an added visual and emotional punch which only serves to strengthen our bond to Earth.
    Shades of blue, shades of white / A round grand marble, shining bright / A beacon in space, it is so true / that we so need to respect, and cherish you.

  18. Céline Deluzarche says:
    This image illustrate how Earth is shaped by human

  19. Vimal.Kumar.p says:
    I like the view of the africa and europe in this picture with that golden light

  20. roger says:

    the best picture from 2001 is a capture of a biggest lagoon before destruction : mayotte lagoon with the new underwater volcano is going to disapear, island loose altitud

  21. James Abbott says:

    I nominate “Deforestation in Guinea’s Parrot’s Beak Area”. The stark difference on one side of the border vs the other is very illustrative of environmental change as well as the role politics plays in land management. A more subtle, but fascinating feature is the fact that in the deforested areas, the areas of settlement appear to be surrounded by a relatively lush border of vegetation-similar to Leach and Mearns’ work in west Africa, although in their case, the perivillage vegetation was an enhancement, rather than a relic, of the landscape.

    Earth Observatory has been a priceless tool in my lectures!

  22. Sajal Ahmed says:

    Our most beautiful planet is earth and it’s created by Allah. Allah gives us Water, Wind, Land, Lives, We are living here by the grace of Almighty Allah and Allah is the only creator who decorated the Earth. So far I think we are mankind making changes on earth for our better lives but we can’t able to understand what types changes can do harmful for our planet. Any way sometimes It seems to me that The Earth shape is changed day by day than Before. May be it’s true and maybe not but only Most oldest image of earth can able To prove that The earth shape is changing day by day than before.

    Thank you All
    May Allah bless all of us.
    Sajal Ahmed

  23. Kamal says:
    Cette photo montre la verdure à l’échelle globale. L’Homme doit développer scientifiquement cette surface verte pour mieux respirer et éviter le réchauffement climatique.

  24. Ryan says:

    Earth and Moon – a view from Mars, our next Starbucks stop?

  25. Brent says:

    I vote for an image like this one ( illustrating our breathing planet!

  26. BRIAN THOMPSON says:

    The February 2020 “Puzzling” satellite image.

  27. Charles St-Hilaire says:

    The nightly Earth looks really great to me.
    Adding some lights in a cold and dark space of beauty!

  28. Adam L says:

    I thoroughly enjoy the new perspectives and scientific gems especially relating to fires (Summer of extremes in Australia –, cyclones (A View Inside Typhoon Atsani – and changes in trees (Canopies of Change –, all at spatial or temporal (July 2016 Was the Hottest Month on Record scales much larger than we appreciate on the ground.
    New perspectives to talk to people about climate change are also great (World of change –

    But my favourite vote goes to a wonderful perspective of an eclipse displayed in “An EPIC Eclipse” and this was made all the more enjoyable by the prominent position of the Australian continent.

  29. ABER says:

    All citizens around the world will preserve our beautiful planet so our future generation can appreciate this amazing island and other views

  30. Roswitha Stolz says:

    I nominate the change of Columbia Glacier. It highlights the speeding up of glacier retreat after 2010 and is pronouncing the effect of climate warming in the polar and sub-polar regions

  31. Elaine Hulse says:

    Denali – Home of the tallest mountain in North America and where views of glaciers can be seen advancing or retreating (as long as images aren’t modified).

  32. Louna says:

    La cosmologie est ma passion première, c’est compliqué de choisir ! Mais j’ai décidé de quoique saturne, car avec ses anneaux, elle est tellement belle !

  33. Suzanne says:

    I was looking for an image of earth during the total solar eclipse of 2018. Those images were not only beautiful but created context to understand our place in the solar system and proof that the earth is not flat! Couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for but an image from that event would be my choice.

  34. Susan Walter says:

    I love the melt pots in Antarctica, especially with the red beaming with light yellow above the photograph!

  35. Keren says:

    Have always loved views of clouds from above. This is a beautiful and really interesting one.

  36. Alexandre Ehny says:

    I really like the pale blue dot image, and Carl Sagan’s speech about this picture…we are on this beautiful planet in the middle of nowhere, and there are some people trying to make this planet a better place (and some the contrary, but let’s not talk about them…)

  37. Lisa Butler says:

    Voting for the “Faint White Speck,” the Curiosity rover’s view of Earth from Mars. Like many of NASA’s technological advancements, it demonstrates the height of our scientific prowess yet reminds us of our place in the universe. We’re all in this together.

  38. Alice Vincent says:

    An amazing view of a phenomenon. Oct.7, 2018. The colors, enveloping Earth, called ‘airglow’.

  39. nicolò says:

    Che emozione guardare una opera della natura cosi bella e che dispiacere a vedere che giorno dopo giorno cerchiamo di distruggerla

  40. Dahlia says: i voted for it because it is awesome and pretty and beautiful

  41. Molly says:

    It’s really pretty all the lights against the darkness. And to see the shape of the seas. It looks like a little dragon in a cluster of stars.