Sky views: 14 extraordinary images that show how 2023 looked from above | Science & Tech News

It’s been another eventful year.

From Israel’s bombardment of Gaza after the Hamas attacks on 7 October, to the continuation of the war in Ukraine and several natural disasters, the world hasn’t felt particularly stable.

As if the scale of these events wasn’t clear enough, many of them have also been captured from space.

We’ve picked out some of the most striking images – and don’t worry, they’re not all bad news.

Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine

This picture was taken above the snow-covered towns of Soledar and Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on 10 January, showing bomb craters scattered across the area - including around a destroyed school. Pic: Maxar
Image:
Pic: Maxar

This picture was taken above the snow-covered towns of Soledar and Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on 10 January, showing bomb craters scattered across the area – including around a destroyed school.

Palestinians forced to flee

This image from 17 November shows a huge crowd gathered along Salah al Deen Road in the north of Gaza, hoping they can flee south. Pic: Maxar
Image:
Pic: Maxar

Civilians in Gaza have been warned by Israel throughout its war with Hamas to evacuate to avoid bombs, and this image from 17 November shows a huge crowd gathered along Salah al Deen Road in the north, trying to flee south.

Turkey splintered by earthquake

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Turkey and Syria on 6 February. This shot from the following day shows the fault line rupture across a field in the town of Altinuzum - also cutting off a corner of a building.
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Pic: Maxar

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Turkey and Syria on 6 February. This shot from the following day shows the fault line rupture across a field in the town of Altinuzum – cutting off a corner of a building.

Iceberg on the loose

An Antarctic iceberg, known as A23a
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Pic: ESA

The world’s largest iceberg, called A23a, escaped from the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf in West Antarctica in 1986, and four decades later is being driven from the Weddel Sea and expected to end up in the South Atlantic. This ESA satellite picture was snapped on 26 November.

Winter wonderland

An international ice and snow sculpture festival in Harbin, China, snapped on 3 January.
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Pic: Maxar

On a lighter but appropriately wintry note, this wonderfully picturesque scene is from an international ice and snow sculpture festival in Harbin, China, snapped on 3 January.

Need for speed

Australia hosted its biannual Avalon Airshow this year, and Maxar caught the moment South Korea's Black Eagles team soared together in formation on 5 March
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Pic: Maxar

Australia hosted its biannual Avalon Airshow this year, and Maxar caught the moment South Korea‘s Black Eagles team soared together on 5 March.

Pretty in pink

Of the many reasons to visit Japan, the country's cherry blossom season is right up there. This beautiful picture of Takada Castle shows it's even visible from space.
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Pic: Maxar

Of the many reasons to visit Japan, the country’s cherry blossom season is right up there. This beautiful picture of Takada Castle was taken on 3 April.

Search for Titan

On 23 June, the day after the search for the Titan sub ended with fragments being found on the ocean floor, Maxar captured this picture of three ships involved in the operation
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Pic: Maxar

On 23 June, the day after the search for the Titan sub ended with fragments being found on the ocean floor, Maxar captured this picture of three ships involved in the operation.

Ciaran batters UK

Satellite image shows Storm Ciaran dominating the majority of the UK 02/11/2023
Pic:NASA/Cover Images/AP
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Pic: NASA

Britain makes the list thanks to this NASA shot of Storm Ciaran, which brought 85mph winds and flooding to southern England and wreaked havoc on the Channel Islands.

Hellish Hawaii

This sinister image is a nighttime pic of Hawaii from 7 June, showing lava flowing after the eruption of the island's incredibly active Kilauea volcano
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Pic: Maxar

This sinister image is a nighttime picture of Hawaii from 7 June, showing lava flowing after the eruption of the island’s incredibly active Kilauea volcano.

Fire islands

Wildfires tore across the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu during the summer months. This infrared 24 July image shows one burning near Gennadi on Rhodes, with burned vegetation around the blaze shaded in black.
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Pic: Maxar

Wildfires tore across the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu during the summer months. This infrared 24 July image shows one burning near Gennadi on Rhodes, with burned vegetation shaded in black.

Idalia’s wrath

Hurricane Idalia hits Florida's west coast in a composite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-East weather satellite August 30, 2023. NOAA/Handout REUTERS .THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Pic: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Florida was hit by Hurricane Idalia during the summer, which left hundreds of thousands of homes without power and some completely submerged. This image shows it engulfing the state on 30 August.

North Korea’s military might

The 75th anniversary of the Korean People's Army was marked with a parade in Pyongyang on 9 September, with thousands assembling in Kim II Sung Square as missile launches went on display
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Pic: Maxar

The 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army was marked with a parade in Pyongyang on 9 September, with thousands assembling in Kim II Sung Square as missile launches went on display.

Conflict in Sudan

Sudan has been gripped by a violent power struggle this year after fighting between rival factions of the country's military broke out in the spring. This image from 17 April shows destroyed planes at Khartoum's main airport
Image:
Pic: Maxar

Sudan has been gripped by a violent power struggle this year after fighting between rival factions of the country’s military broke out in the spring. This image from 17 April shows destroyed planes at Khartoum’s main airport.

SpaceX’s biggest launch

Elon Musk's SpaceX twice tried to launch Starship, the world's most powerful rocket, this year, but didn't get far on either occasion. This 17 November image is from before the second attempt in south Texas.
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Pic: Maxar

Elon Musk‘s SpaceX twice tried to launch Starship, the world’s most powerful rocket, this year, but didn’t get far on either occasion. This 17 November image is from before the second attempt in south Texas.

Autumn in Quebec

Fall in Canada's Quebec province - specifically Lac-Nilgaut - on 27 September.
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Pic: Maxar

We’ll end on a prettier note (and a contender to become your new desktop wallpaper) with this glorious snap of autumn in Canada‘s Quebec province – specifically Lac-Nilgaut – on 27 September.

The world can still be rather beautiful.