The best images we’ve seen of Earth have undoubtedly come from astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The ISS orbits our planet 250 miles above the surface.
Now, a NASA astronaut has captured a set of mind-bending images of the Earth from the International Space Station while orbiting our planet on October 7, 2018.
whiles flying over Australia, the astronaut photographed a phenomenon known as ‘airglow’ which colors the entire sky.
“The orange hue enveloping Earth is known as airglow—diffuse bands of light that stretch 50 to 400 miles into our atmosphere. The phenomenon typically occurs when molecules (mostly nitrogen and oxygen) are energized by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight,” NASA explained.
“To release that energy, atoms in the lower atmosphere bump into each other and lose energy in the collision. The result is colorful airglow.”
“Airglow reveals some of the workings of the upper reaches of our atmosphere. It can help scientists learn about the movement of particles near the interface of Earth and space, including the connections between space weather and Earth weather. Satellites offer one way to study this dynamic zone. NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON)satellite will help scientists understand the physical processes at work where Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space.”
While sunrises on Earth can be incredible, seeing them while orbiting the planet 250 miles above the surface is breathtaking, to say the least.
The photographs were taken by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst who has previously shared a number of stunning images of planet Earth.
Speaking about a previous set of images he took from space, Gerst said: “I don’t know any words, in any language, to match the beauty of an orbital sunrise.”
I don't know any words, in any language, to match the beauty of an orbital sunrise. / Ich kenne kein Wort, in keiner Sprache, das die Schönheit eines Sonnenaufgangs im Orbit auch nur ansatzweise beschreiben könnte. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/qrsVfCJRH4
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 5, 2018
Gerst also photographed a Typhoon on Earth and described it saying that it was “as if somebody pulled the planet’s gigantic plug.”
“Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm. Category 5 Super Typhoon Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there!”
As if somebody pulled the planet's gigantic plug. Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm. Category 5 Super Typhoon Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there! #TyphoonTrami pic.twitter.com/4VmY2hhj2c
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) September 25, 2018
Gerst also shared a video on his twitter account of what its like to fly above the Earth, where we can witness the International Space Station’s trip over Alaska to the Andes in 260 seconds.
Ein paar Sekunden vor Sonnenaufgang können wir die Atmosphäre sehr gut von der Seite aus beobachten. Dabei wird besonders klar wie dünn die Atmosphäre ist. Man kann deutlich Gewitterwolken sehen – und dass darüber nicht mehr viel kommt… pic.twitter.com/cdMS6kdOTL
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) October 17, 2018
The International Space Station is a massive $100 billion science and engineering laboratory. Since November of 2000, the station has been homed by rotating crews of astronauts from different countries.
The majestic Uluru (aka Ayers Rock). I walked around it bare foot when I was 21 years old and backpacking around the world. If someone told me back then that I would see it from space one day I would have called them crazy. #Horizons #Australia #DreamBoldly Thx @astro_ricky pic.twitter.com/3KEvbtwuNT
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) November 2, 2018