Earth never ceases to amaze me. Look at this sandstorm taking over the east Atlantic from the coast of Africa on January 19, 2012. At more than a million square kilometres, it could engulf the entire northeastern United States.
In fact, it would consume Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and parts of North Carolina.
This natural colour image of the storm was captured by NASA's Aqua satellite, using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer:
Off the coast of Western Sahara, the dust forms a faint crosshatch pattern, which implies that dust particles blow in different directions at different altitudes. Most of the dust blows westward. Saharan dust frequently lands on the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, but also sometimes crosses the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas.
Fortunately, it would never reach us with at this strength — no matter how much some people would love to see us New York deviants fall under the Wrath of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. [NASA Earth Observatory]