Chunks of sea ice, melt ponds, and open water seen from 1,500 feet on July 16.
A rift in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, photographed on Nov. 10.
Ninety-nine-million-year-old dinosaur tail feathers, preserved in amber.
Part of the Sahara desert in western Libya, taken from the International Space Station on Oct. 3.
Valleys on Mars, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The invisible turbulence of hot air rising from a small liquid-fuelled camp stove. Schlieren photography allows us to see and record the refractive index differences between the hot air from the flame and the cooler ambient air in the surrounding environment. One of the winners of the Royal Photography Society’s International Images for Science awards, supported by Siemens.
The Curiosity Mars rover taking a selfie.
A Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts on board lands in Kazakhstan on Oct. 30.
New newt species Tylototriton anguliceps discovered in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia and announced in a World Wildlife Fund report in December.
Astronomers found evidence for what is likely one of the most extreme pulsars, or rotating neutron stars, ever detected. This composite image shows RCW 103 in X-ray and optical light.
A Cuban emerald hummingbird, Chlorostilbon ricordii. This photograph was the overall winner in the 2016 British Ecological Society photography competition.
A caterpillar in its final minutes, during a wasp attack and after its back erupted with parasitoid pupae. The drop of liquid is haemolymph – the equivalent of blood for a caterpillar. This photograph was the student winner in a category of the 2016 British Ecological Society photography competition.
Microbeads, tiny bits of plastic found in cosmetics that are too small for treatment systems to remove from waste water and that harm marine life, taken from a type of eyeliner. The image is taken from a photography project studying the effects of microplastics on the environment.
Ants eating food colouring with sugar, turning blue from the liquid ingestion.
The Milky Way above an ocean of cloud, taken at 4,400m altitude in the Himalayas.
“Warrior of the Grassland”: a fan-throated lizard, a highly territorial creature, on guard to protect its territory. Image taken in Maharashtra state, India, in summer, the lizards’ breeding season.
The Crab Nebula – a vast cloud of gas, formed by an exploding star 2,600 years ago and 1,600 light years away – seen through the Hubble telescope in October.
The Phuket horned tree agamid, Acanthosaura phuketensis, was recently discovered among the few remaining forest patches on the popular Thai tourist island of Phuket.
A Greenland shark, a kind of sleeper shark. These huge, slow-moving creatures move gently around the deep Atlantic. A study this year discovered that they are the longest-living known vertebrates, with one specimen being recorded at at least 392 years old.
Small star clusters orbiting a lenticular galaxy, NGC 5308. “Small” is a relative term: Each cluster contains hundreds of thousands of stars.
The end of a diving beetle’s leg, seen in false colour under a microscope. It’s about 2mm long and is used to attach to a female’s back during sex.
Sandhill cranes on their long migration from Siberia to Mexico shelter in Nebraska during a storm. From National Geographic’s best pics of the year.
Lightning flashes and city lights are seen from the International Space Station, with two Russian spacecraft in the foreground.
Blacktip reef sharks lounge in a few inches of low-tide water in a bay in the Seychelles.
Tiger sharks in the northern Bahamas, in a place known as “Tiger Beach”.
A radio-frequency image of the universe, taken by the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) radiotelescope in the Australian Outback.