In this wide world of ours, sometimes we happen upon something so incredible that it can’t be put into words.
Sometimes, we witness it ourselves, and sometimes, we have the presence of mind in our dumbfoundedness to capture the scene to share with others.
Sometimes, it’s shared with us by a friend, and it’s no less powerful.
In the post-modern technological age, it’s often something we see on the Web, and the awe we feel is still undiminished. If anything, it brings us closer in this global culture to see amazing things happening a world away.
Here is a collection of pictures that, for better or worse, we have not been able to shake.
Some evoke wonder and amazement.
Others bring out our empathy or grief.
Still others inspire anger and horror.
But whether joy or sadness, ethos or pathos, these photos say more themselves than we could ever hope to.
The power of perspective proves that ignorance is bliss. “I’m looking at you through the glass, I don’t know how much time has passed, all I know is that it feels like forever.”
Only one man, woman or child was not captured in this picture of the Eagle lunar module and the planet Earth: fellow astronaut Michael Collins, who took the photo.
Taken with the Hubble telescope’s extreme deep field (XDF), this is the the deepest image of the universe ever taken in visible light and shows some of the oldest galaxies ever seen.
The late Neil Armstrong, taken by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin after Mission Commander Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.
Belarusian WWII veteran Konstantin Pronin waits on a bench in Gorky Park in Moscow on Victory Day in 2011, hoping to see other men from his unit.
A British Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician take “the long walk” toward a device in Northern Ireland; the image was used for The Longest Walk: The World of Bomb Disposal.
Nail scratches inside the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Regina Walters, 14, taken by her kidnapper Robert Ben Rhoades, the Truck Stop Killer, before her murder.
A colorized version of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc’s act of self-immolation in protest of the Buddhist persecution in the 1960s in South Vietnam.
A Greek motorcycle police officer is hit by a molotov cocktail during riots in Athens, February 23, 2011.
Riot police officer Joselito Sevilla weeps and is consoled as he confronts protesters in Manila, the Philippines.
Unconscious electric lineman Randall Champion is given life-saving CPR by J.D. Thompson after contacting a live wire and receiving 4,000 volts of electricity.
A suicide prevention phone on the Golden Gate Bridge being put to good use.
British Paralympic swimmer Susie Rodgers prepares to swim the 100 meter freestyle at the 2012 Paralympics.
Felix Baumgartner’s space jump.
Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope across Niagara Falls.
A vigil outside the Cinemark Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado, for those slain in the mass shooting.
A distraught driver after taking the life of an 8-year-old.
Jon Byler Dann is reunited with his dog, Maggie, after digging her out of the rubble of his home after the tornado in Washington, Illinois.
Polish Paralympic high-jumper Lukasz Mamczarz competes in the 2012 games.
What photos leave you speechless? Which of these photos moved you?