The world is utterly beautiful, especially when seen through the lens of picture of global aerosols — the solid and liquid particles that float around in our atmosphere.

You're familiar with dust, but what do it and all the other floating bits look like from the heavens? We notice these particles when they scatter and absorb sunlight. Like you see in this picture, which was taken using the Goddard Earth Observing System Model (GEOS-5), they take on vibrant colours. For example, the red is dust, the blue is sea salt inside cyclones, the smoke is green from fires, white is sulfate particles from volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions.

NASA scientists use gorgeous images like these to study our changing climate, which is kind of funny considering our ever warming atmosphere has delivered some horrible destruction. [NASA]

Image credit: William Putnam, NASA/Goddard