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20 awe-inspiring views of Earth from space in 2013

This collection of satellite images shows historical ruins, tiny sea animals, and a giant rubber duckie, just for starters.

Sci-fi city of the future? Or Qatar? Getty/DigitalGlobe

For the past few years, DigitalGlobe has been snapping high-resolution shots of Earth from its constellation of satellites, picking the most interesting ones, and asking the public to help select its image of the year.

This year the company gave CNET access to the 20 nominees, which show our planet at its most awesome, weird, and wacky.

Most recently, we saw DigitalGlobe in action documenting the devastation of the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. The company plans to add a sixth satellite to its fleet in 2014 that will enable accurate imaging through haze, dust, and smoke.

Click through our gallery below and see if you can spot the hidden 8-bit figures in a famous French palace or the giant rubber duckie in an Asian harbor. You can vote for your favorite on DigitalGlobe's Facebook page and let us know your reaction in the comments below.