The Earth has somewhere between 2,000 and 40,000 islands, ranging from bare rocks to tropical paradises. And all are beautiful.

Some islands emerge from the sea, from a volcano growing in eruption after eruption, or a reef built by a colony of corals. Others are part of a larger landmass, cut off by rising seas or eroding shores. Humans have even made a few artificial islands above the waves. But they all have one thing in common: NASA has spied them out with its swarm of satellites.

Wake Island

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Wake Island is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, 4,000 kilometers west-southwest of Hawaii and 2,400 kilometers northwest of Guam. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.

Cat Island

Cat Island is one of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets in the Bahamas. The smaller Little San Salvador Island in the bottom left is a private island, awaiting the construction of a fantastic tropical lair. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.

Garden Island & Hog Island

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Garden and Hog Island in Lake Michigan are the resistant remains of rocks scoured by glaciers thousands of years ago. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.

Onekotan Island

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Onekotan Island is a dramatic, picturesque volcano in the Russian Federation. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.

Four Mountains

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Four Mountains are three islands in Alaska. Carlisle and Herbert are independent islands, while Tana and Cleveland are connected together under the clouds to form Chuginadak Island. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.

Artificial Islands in Dubai

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Dubai takes building islands to a whole new level, pulling palm trees, dolphins, and even even a recreation of the continents off the coast. Image credit & read more on NASA/Earth Observatory.