The best thing we, as science writers, can do sometimes is to sit back and let the pictures do all the work. The year’s best science images don’t really need any words as ornament—they’re terrifying and gorgeous and confounding on their own.

All of the views are otherworldly—literally so when we’re talking about the surface of Pluto and Mars. Back on Earth, we’ll peek at an Antarctic research station, blue lava, an orange river, and of course, that dress.


The Best of the Year’s Otherworldly Science Images