Looking down on the Great Barrier Reef near the Whitsunday Islands
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured a view of these three reefs in Australia's Great Barrier Reef on October 12, 2015. The photo area spans about 10 miles of the 1,700 mile reef system. Reefs are easy to spot from space because the iridescent blues of shallow lagoons contrast sharply with the dark blues of deep water. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth, with more than 3,000 separate reefs and coral cays. It is also one of the most complex natural ecosystems, with 600 types of corals and thousands of animal species from tiny planktons to whales. NASA/UPI
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