Living in the Information Age, it’s easy to assume that we’ve seen it all. Though we can summon any fact or photo we can imagine with the push of the button, our world is still far bigger and more complicated than most of us give it credit for. And there’s plenty of proof, too.
Every day, Mother Nature and man’s ingenuity team up to find new ways to surprise the rest of us. So, hold on to your jaw, because these awe-inspiring photos are about to make it drop to the floor. After seeing these extraordinary folds of the Earth, you’ll never see life quite the same.
1. Until the 1950s, many thought that Mount Everest posed too great a challenge for even the most skilled climber. But nowadays, adventurers actually have to wait in line to reach the summit!
2. This space looks like a of funhouse or modern art museum, but it’s actually much smaller. It’s the inside of an acoustic guitar! With all the work that goes into making the instrument, it surely deserves better than the opening chords of “Wonderwall.”
Twitter / AtomicFact
3. While there are lots of different eye colors out there, this isn’t the case of a striped iris. Those lines are stitches after a cornea transplant. It requires some pretty precise handiwork to keep those in place!
4. When walking down a brick sidewalk, many of us have stopped to marvel at the intricate patterns. But don’t give those bricklayers too much credit. These patterns are often spit out by automated machines — no measuring required.
Reddit / frausting
5. You’ve probably seen a lily pad thousands of times, but have you ever thought to look underneath? Its intricate system of roots and veins creates air pockets that helps keep the plant afloat.
Reddit / DanaTheGiraffe
6. Most kids would probably be too scared to hold this hand while crossing the street. However, this is what the blood vessels look like inside each of our arms. The human body is almost always more complex than we give it credit for.
7. Jaws provided the famous line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” It’s hard to go bigger than the USS Independence, which shocked the world with its unique shape while dry docked. The underside almost looks more like a pontoon boat than a traditional ship.
8. Someone got your nose? This impressive schnoz isn’t the kind you’ll see every day, as it makes an appearance once in a blue moon. That’s because it’s the blowhole of the mighty blue whale, the largest mammal on Earth.
9. Though this picture looks like a miniature model, don’t let appearances deceive you. This shot comes from footage of an actual space shuttle — one almost 200 feet tall — shooting through the atmosphere. Our universe is far vaster than we realize.
Reddit / bucsboy246
10. Even the biggest caviar fans out there wouldn’t want to eat these eggs. Believe it or not, this cluster of dots represent the earliest stages of a human embryo. For scale, they’re sitting on the tip of a needle!
Reddit / mike_pants
11. Pearls form when sand and outside objects slip inside the shell of a mollusk, which then compresses them into a hardened sphere. You can actually see the stages of this process by splitting open a pearl, though that demonstration will cost you quite a bit.
Reddit / 9w_lf9
12. This is one big-screen TV you wouldn’t want to watch. It displays live traffic patterns across all of Beijing, and these employees have to keep track of it all. At least your job doesn’t require you to be stuck in (virtual) traffic all day.
13. Although this object resembles a blueberry tart, you wouldn’t want to chow down on it. There would be seriously explosive consequences, as this is the cross-section of a firework! A lot of careful design goes into safely blowing something up.
Twitter / Massimo
14. Unless you work in the theater world, you’ve likely only ever seen the action from the seats. The backstage perspective, on the other hand, makes the whole venue look like a door to another world. There really is a ton of tech behind the scenes, too!
15. We’ve all seen wind turbines from a distance. But do you have any idea just how big they are? To give you an idea, here’s a single blade laid out in a city square. It’s longer than an entire block!
16. So often, we chuck out garbage without thinking about where it will end up. This field of discarded tires ought to open your eyes. They just sit around in a landfill, taking up space.
17. Despite its unfortunate doping issue, the sport cycling is a testament to human endurance. Just look at the legs of this competitor, fresh off of finishing the 2,200 miles of the Tour de France! Practically every vein is popping out.
18. We all know bowling balls are heavy — that’s kind of the point — but there is actual science that goes into making them. Each ball contains a cylindrical weight that keeps up its momentum as it rolls down the lane, hopefully for a strike.
19. Contrary to what you might think, those massive power lines aren’t always built from the ground-up. Helicopters often airlift the complete structures directly to their locations!
20. No, that’s not a broken playground slide. What you’re looking at is freshly cut cinnamon, peeled right off the trunk of a tree. The farmers then dry it before shipping it out to market.
Reddit / afnas
21. This kid had been reading too much of the Bible. How else can you explain him strolling across the water without a problem? The timing of this photo is flawless.
22. When Cupid’s arrow hits its mark, the target falls in love — and this statue of Cupid just launched quite the epic airplane arrow! If whoever it hits survive, they’re going to be madly in love!
23. At first, this guy looks like he’s wearing the most realistic bird mask of all time, and he’s wearing it well! However, that “mask” you’re looking at is a real bird positioned perfectly in front of his face.
24. Imagine coming home from work every day and the first thing to greet you was a two-headed Golden Retriever! Hopefully, the two guys get along okay because, let’s face it, they’re going to be in each other’s lives forever!
25. A massive praying mantis is attacking the city! Call the military and tell them it’s an emergency!… wait… that’s just a regular praying mantis on a window that’s looking out at tall buildings. Let the Army know they can call off the brigade.
26. The queen instantly turns into an Olympic track star when you place these two coins next to each other. The Queen rules both England and the 100-meter dash.
27. Contrasting black and white is always eye-catching. The person behind the lens here found an incredible way to split the picture in half — a man in black, standing on snow, feeding white swans!
28. Asian countries are sometimes known to eat unique foods, but it’s usually insects or unusual aquatic creatures. The man on this television set seems to have a three-dimensional appetite for feline, and the cat seems to enjoy it!
29. If you saw something like this walking down the street towards you, there’d really be nothing else to do except turn and run. But, look closely. This mind-boggling photo uses a mask and a front ponytail to do all the creepy work.
30. Someone should have told the family that took this photo with actors Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law the painting of Harry Potter’s Hagrid behind them was actually alive! That woman on the end is in for quite a scare.
31. Someone’s been hitting the gym like a boss! To lift a full-grown horse like that, you can’t skip arm day. The matador in this photo also made sure he never skipped horse day either!
32. There’s nothing quite like an immaculately fresh sip of water, and this bottle offers water so fresh it tastes like it was scooped straight from a mountain waterfall.
33. While the gentleman on the left is all smiles, he has no idea some stranger off to the side is checking his girlfriend for strep throat. Hopefully, she’s healthy because her date is probably going to try to sneak a kiss in at some point.
34. There’s a lovely gradual change between the metal of the fence and the birds flying away into the distance here. It’s symbolical for an enclosure eventually leading to pure freedom — or freedom leading to imprisonment!
35. The driver of this truck better slap a seriously large “Wide Load” sticker on the back of the vehicle if they plan on hauling this cruise ship around for a while It’s amazing that the bed of that truck holds over 2,000 people.
36. Looks like one duck came screeching to a dead stop. How fast was he traveling to leave a 20-foot skid mark like that? Fast enough to make for a very clever picture.
37. Oh look, it’s a bunch of books on a bookshelf just leaning… wait! Is there a tiny world peeking out from in between the spines? It’s like Narnia, but instead of the White Witch, the ruler is the Silent Librarian!
38. Isn’t this the biggest cat you’ve ever seen in your life? It can barely fit under the Christmas tree! Before you get too mind blown, the cat is actually on a glass table a few feet in front of the tree, so hold your applause.
39. Whoa, did a Tetris piece just fall out of space and tear a geometric hole through the sky? No, of course not. That’s actually a military stealth aircraft.
40. The water on the surface makes this trampoline look invisible. This would be one heck of a disappointing present for their kids. “Hey kids, for Christmas this year your mother and I splurged on that standing metal ring you always wanted!”