A series of pictures taken by a NASA satellite over the course of a few decades have amounted to some beautiful, but also depressing, images, Slate writes today. Time lapse videos of climate change paint a bummer of a picture about how the Earth is changing, and being changed, by humans. On the other hand, some of the images simply paint a picture, literally, like these gorgeous accidental art images of northwest Africa, Alaska, Australia, and, most impressive, an island in Sweden that looks like it was designed in the mind of Vincent Van Gogh.
In the style of Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night,” massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants. Image via NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS
Much like how you always appreciate your friends and family more when you’re far away, it’s a reminder of what a beautiful place the Earth can be—especially when you get the hell out of it and live in space.