A worker de-ices a Lufthansa plane in Munich
Children wait for a portion of the world’s longest Yule log at a Christmas market in La Defense, outside Paris
Volunteers dressed in Santa Claus outfits wave at a charity event in Seoul, South Korea
Actors dressed as devils perform during the "gathering of the devils" ahead of Saint Nicholas Day in Podkoren, Slovenia
This satellite image shows a snow-covered Britain on 2 December 2010. The image was taken by NASA’s Terra satellite and released by the University of Dundee.
The London Eye turns (RED) on World AIDS Day. More than 80 landmarks across 13 countries joined (RED) to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS epidemic, by turning red to mark World AIDS Day.
Table Mountain turns (RED) to mark World AIDS Day 2010
Aung San Suu Kyi comforts HIV-positive people during a visit to the National League for Democracy party headquarters to mark World AIDS Day in Yangon
Swimmers enjoy the warm weather on a beach on the outskirts of Athens. While northern Europe is experiencing an unusually harsh start to winter, Greece is unseasonably warm, with temperatures reaching 24C Celsius
A pigeon flies in front of the camera as police destroy the bunker of a drug lord at the Vila Cruzeiro shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, using a controlled explosion
An ant is seen walking over a snake at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste province, Costa Rica
Dai Haifei, 24, from China’s Hunan province, looks out from his egg-shaped mobile house where he has been living for the last two months, near his office in Beijing. The house is just over 2m high, 3m long and 2m wide. The outside wall is made of bamboo splints and sacks filled with sawdust and grass seeds for insulation. There is a solar panel on the roof and an inner storage battery. It has wheels and a pressure water tank for washing. The house cost him 6400 yuan (about �615) to purchase the materials and took almost two months to build.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men look at a forest fire that broke out near kibbutz Beit Oren in the north of Israel. The huge forest fire swept an area of northern Israel, killing at least 41 people. Police and medical officials warned the number of dead could still rise.
It looks like something from the film Independence Day.
But although it may seem like an alien mothership, this incredible picture is actually an impressive thunderstorm cloud known as a supercell.
Windswept dust and rain dominate the storm’s centre while rings of jagged clouds surround the edge.
A flimsy tree in the foreground looks like a toy next to the magnificent natural phenomenon.
Awe: This massive supercell shows a column of rain in the centre of thick clouds
The photograph is just one image from the portfolio of electrician Sean Heavey. The supercell cloud was photographed in July west of Glasgow, Montana, USA.
Mr Heavey, 34, an amateur photographer, created the jaw-dropping panoramic image by stitching together three photos from the 400 frames he took of the violent scene he witnessed in July
It caused minor damage, and lasted several hours before moving on. Massive storm systems like this centre on mesocyclones — rotating updrafts that deliver torrential rain and high winds.
The dangerous outbreak of weather raged for several hours and caused minor damage to local communities – while watchful Mr Heavey captured all its devastating beauty from a distance.
Taking photographs of storms for the past seven years, this year Mr Heavey and his masterpiece are up for a prestigious award from National Geographic.
Called the ‘Mothership’, because of the striking image’s similarity to an alien space ship, the photograph was actually four years in the making.
‘I have two storm chasing friends I met through my wife Toni and they’ve been badgering me to go out with them for that long,’ explained Sean.
‘I’ normally rely on simply being in the right place at the right time for my photography, while I’m out working. But in July I finally decided to do it and thankfully this picture was the result. We don’t usually get weather like this out in Montana, it felt like the perfect storm.
‘The power was awe inspiring.’
A super cell thunderstorm crosses a path and continues unabated across the plains on July 28th
A storm descends in July 2007 over the sleepy town of Glasgow, Montana
‘I felt that if you could walk inside the rain and the wind right into the centre of the storm and stare up, then it would have been like looking into God’s eye.’
Known as the ‘mother of tornadoes’, a mesocyclone can be up to six miles wide and can produce as many as 60 tornadoes.
These severe thunderstorms form where cold dry air meets warm moist tropical air.
The wind coming into the storm starts to swirl and forms a funnel. The air in the funnel spins faster and faster and creates a very low pressure area which sucks more air – and objects – into it.
If the cyclone runs out of wet, warm surface air, it dies out. If it does not run out of this fuel, however, the rotating cloud stretches toward the ground and may become a giant tornado.
Mr Heavey, 34, is an electrician, working in the west of the American state in a town named Glasgow.
Taking photographs of storms for the past seven years, this year Sean and his masterpiece are up for a prestigious award from National Geographic.
The super-cell storm begins to build – before unleashing a powerful torrent of rain down onto a Montana field
The belly of the thunderstorm as it begins to wreak havoc
Photographer Sean Heavey, who has spent the last four years taking beautiful and striking storm pictures, and an image of a lightning bolt in the middle of the storm
‘The ‘Mothership’ picture is a super-cell storm that was around five to ten miles in diameter with hurling winds of around 85 mph,’ said Mr Heavey, who moved from bustling Seattle to sleepy Montana for a quiet life four years ago.
‘I photographed it for over two hours as it traveled between Glasgow and the town of Hinsdale.
‘I can honestly say that the photograph does not do it justice. I caught the shot just as the sun was setting which brought out the colours so vividly.
‘I felt that if you could walk inside the rain and the wind right into the centre of the storm and stare up, then you would be able to see God’s eye.’
As an amateur photographer, storms have been Mr Heavey’s obsession since he was caught under a huge thundercloud on a visit to relatives in Ohio, which is part of America’s famous ‘tornado alley’.
‘I felt the sheer power of that storm as a young boy and I am not ashamed to admit that it scared the living daylights out of me,’ he said.
‘Since I moved to Glasgow I travel a lot in my job as a electrician. The clients that I visit are well aware that I carry my camera with me over the state and they are more than happy to help point out gathering storms on the horizon which they think will be great subjects for me.’
A shelf cloud passes overhead as the super cell storm looms ominously in the sky
Rain feathers dancing across the western prairie in August 2010, in Glasgow, Montana
Like scenes of the apocalypse these incredible images are the stunning results of one man’s mission to capture stormy skies on camera
American daredevil Jonathan Trappe prepares for take off in his homemade balloon contraption
He controlled his altitude by releasing air in his durable high performance balloons
Trappe, 37, controlled his altitude by releasing air in his durbable high performance balloons, reaching speeds of 18-50 mph.
Jonathan and his ten ground support crew travelled an astonishing 100 miles from Leon to Colorado in Mexico.
He captured these stunning images from a balloon-mounted camera as he made the journey.
Dressed in protective sunglasses and a pair of bluejeans, Trappe called the journey ‘outstanding’ and said he was ‘wonderfully inspired’ by his trip.
Uplifting experience: Daredevil Trappe’s airborne adventure evoked scenes from Pixar’s 2009 film Up (film still above)
Trappe was so high he took oxygen with him on the flight to deal with the altitude
He had ten ground support members to help him in his high-flying endeavor