Science - cool when it's invisible and behind closed doors, but much, much cooler when it produces spectacular photos. Lucky for all of us, Popular Science has a stunning gallery of the year's best. Check below for our favourite picks.
The full selection is massive - but we thought these were the coolest. And like any captivating science photo, it might not be obvious what each is at first glance. Try to guess before reading on.
You're looking at a black hole. Well, a simulated one, as detected by the Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS facility.
Remember that gigantic volcano with the impossible to pronounce name that made a lot of people miserable in airports for a long time? Rather than trying to spell Eyjafjallajokull, let's just appreciate how stunning it looked instead.
We love cats. We don't love injured cats. Lucky for Oscar the cat, who lost his legs in an accident, 2010 marked a first of its kind feline prosthetic procedure.
You're looking at two rival bacterial colonies here, and the "toxic no man's land" they create when they come too close. Luckily, it's under a microscope, and far away from you.
Lasers, much like cats, are always great. Especially the HERCULES, which scientists say is the world's most powerful.
Stem cells are the future - especially when pushed forward by the research of scientists like Jianping Fu, who discovered that cells like the one pictured here can be turned into particular kinds of cells with physical force.
And finally, amazing bioluminescent micro-species that glow colours other than blue, despite their incredible depth in underwater.