27 Breathtaking Pictures of Earth Taken from the International Space Station
Astronauts never tire of taking photos of our Earth, and it's no wonder why. In these times of being stuck inside, why not look at planet Earth's best?
Russian astronaut Sergey Ryazanskiy having a break during a 6 hour-long EVA (extravehicular activity) outside the ISS, August 22, 2013
The ISS has been orbiting Earth for 22 years. Its first module was launched November 20, 1998.
A glacier area at the source of the Rio de la Colonia in southern Chili, in December 2000
As soon as the first crew arrived two years later, they began taking pictures of Earth.
Nearly all of lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado river, on September 6, 2016
Astronauts have been taking breathtaking pictures from space. Over time, they've taken millions.
A barrier island shielding the Venetian Lagoon from the waves in the northern Adriatic sea, May 9, 2014
Under normal conditions, about six people work and live onboard the ISS, which does a full lap of the Earth every 90 minutes.
Astronaut Scott Kelly's last sunrise from space, on March 1, 2016
Astronauts witness 16 dawns and dusks each and every day.
Sunshine on the Pacific ocean shaded by a line of cumulonimbus, July 20, 2018
Nowadays, the ISS orbits the Earth at about 400 kilometers from the surface.
Scott Kelly tweeted this picture of Australia from the space station with the hashtag #EarthArt on October 12, 2015
The onboard astronauts don't share too many details about the spectacle they get to admire. But most have trouble relinquishing the privilege.
Passing above iranian deserts on February 14, 2014, an astronaut noticed erosion exposing the folds of bedrock
'I'm not sure I would bear to be in the same room with someone who could get bored with it,' commented astronaut Kathy Sullivan to National Geographic.
Scott Kelly shared this picture of French mediterranean coast on Instagram from the ISS on March 2016
Some of the most colourful pictures were taken by Scott Kelly, who shared many on social media.
Scott Kelly tweeted this picture of Japan on July 25, 2015
From 2015 to 2016, Kelly spent a grand total of 340 consecutive days onboard the space station. That makes it the longest human spaceflight ever accomplished.
Brightly coloured saline lakes south of Sfax, a Tunisian port town, on June 19, 2015
When they fly over towns, astronauts are able to see many details, like these coloured salt lakes in Sfax, Tunisia.
This picture of Paris was taken at midnight GMT on April 8, 2015
On cloudless nights, some views are even brighter. Here, Paris shows it bears well its nickname of the City of Lights.
Storm clouds crossing the South China Sea on July 29, 2016
Sometimes, the clouds themselves may offer quite a show. From above, astronauts are privy to the best shots.
Nick Hagues tweeted this picture of the Dorian storm on September 2, 2019
From this advantageous position, they can directly look cyclones in the eyes.
Scott Kelly tweeted this picture of the Bahamas from the ISS on July 19, 2015
When the Caribbeans aren't stricken with cyclones, the Bahamas look like a calm and blue oasis from an astronaut's vantage point.
Scott Kelly tweeted this picture on January 6, 2016
This frozen lake in the Himalayan mountains is an oasis of another kind.
Early on June 22, 2019, Astronauts captured the gas and ash plume rising from the Raikoke volcano in the Northern Pacific ocean
It's not all literal sunshine and rainbows. Volcanic eruptions are also easy to capture from space.
The West Coast of southern Africa, shot from the ISS in April of 2019
'Few artists in this world get as creative as mother Nature,' declared ISS commander Alexander Gerst, when commenting this image.
Aurora borealis above Canada as seen from the ISS near the apex of its trajectory, on September 15, 2017
Northern lights are some of nature's most enchanting works of art. They occur when electrically charged particles from the Sun manage to slip through Earth's magnetic field at the poles and collide with oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere.
Aurora australis, as seen from the ISS, on June 25, 2017
The same phenomenon can be observed on the South Pole.
On September 25, 2019, astronaut Christina Koch captured the spaceward ascension of Soyouz MS-15 from Kazakhstan
Even human activities can take on a certain artistic aesthetic when seen from above, like this russian spaceship launch.
Scott Kelly tweeted this picture of the Mecca on September 23, 2015
Very few ever managed to enjoy these sights directly: 241 people coming from 19 different countries have visited the ISS.
Astronauts Robert Curbeam (left) and Christer Fuglesang (right) on an EVA above New Zealand and Cook Strait on December 12, 2006
The astronauts have accomplished 231 EVA (extravehicular activities) since the ISS' inauguration back in 2000.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet on an EVA 416 kilometers above Argentina on January 13, 2017
Sometimes, it's on the outings that they manage to get the best panoramas.
Scott Kelly tweeted this view of the Milky Way on August 9, 2015
Even this void may offer a splendid show.
The ISS was 413 kilometers above the northern Pacific ocean when a crew member captured these clouds over the Aleutian Islands on April 28, 2019
'Orbiting the Earth in the spaceship, I saw for the first time how beautiful our planet is,' said Yuri Gagarin in 1961, the first man in space. 'Let us preserve and accentuate this beauty, not destroy it.'