ISS Envy: Breathtaking Views of Earth

October 1st, 2011 Permalink

We envy the International Space Station astronauts with their window on the world offering breathtaking views of the Earth and of the universe as a whole. Outer space may become the next frontier for vacations. If that becomes a reality, and we can book a space hotel with an eye in the sky overlooking Earth . . . wow, talk about a room with a view! Who would not want to go? We love to stargaze the majestic Milky Way, but crews from the ISS can also planet-gaze down at Earth. We also love NASA images and have looked at the space-walkers and photos captured from the ISS during Endeavor’s last-ever space walk. Granted there are many countries with space programs and spacecraft taking awe-inspiring photos of Earth—so these images were not entirely captured by the ISS—but they made us dream of taking a space vacation. When we see any of these out-of-this-world pictures, we get ISS envy because those space station expedition crews get to live with those magnificent views for extended ‘vacations.’ Here’s a very small but wowza collection of 34 breathtaking pictures of Earth, and of spacecraft approaching the ISS, as well as two incredible videos.

View of Aurora from ISS

Normally, we look up at amazing auroras, but the ISS crew is fortunate enough to have and captures auroras like this to give us an entirely different perspective of the phenomena. Photo #1 by NASA

Durrat Al Bahrain

Durrat Al Bahrain photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member on the International Space Station. At the southern end of Bahrain Island is a new complex of 14 artificial islands designed for residential living and tourism with luxury hotels and shopping malls. The Durrat Al Bahrain includes 21 square kilometers of new surface area—for more than 1,000 residences—that has been designed as The Islands. There are six “atolls” leading off five fish-shaped “petals,” but we thought the one of the lower right looks a bit like Pacman. Views from jet liners at high altitude—and orbital platforms such as the International Space Station—are the only ways to fully appreciate these spectacular sights. Photo #2 by NASA


Eruption of Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the ISS

Eruption of Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the ISS. Visitors to outer space continually get to be awed by nature’s beauty on Earth, but they also have a ringside seat for all flavors of natural disasters. Photo #3 by NASA

Northwestern Europe August 10, 2011 as seen by ISS

Northwestern Europe bright city lights on August 10, 2011 as seen by ISS. Photo #4 by NASA / GSFC

Russian Soyuz Spacecraft from ISS

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft, docked to the International Space Station, is featured in this image photographed on 31 Jan. 2011 by an ISS Expedition 26 crew member. A blue and white part of Earth and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene. Photo #5 by NASA

Perdizes, Minas Gerais, Brazil as seen from ISS

Agricultural fields near Perdizes, Minas Gerais, Brazil as seen from the space station. Photo #6 by NASA

Room With a View - Window on the World

Room With a View – Window on the World. An Expedition 26 crew member used a fish-eye lens to capture this image of the Cupola of the International Space Station on (27 Jan. 2011). Photo #8 by NASA

Heart of Central Asia

Heart of Central Asia. Photo #9 by USGS / NASA

Wildfires with smoke plumes faintly visible in the night sky of Australia

Wildfires with smoke plumes faintly visible in the night sky of Australia. The gold / green halo is atmospheric airglow hanging above the horizon. Photo #10 by NASA / USGS

Agricultural crops in Aragon and Catalonia

Agricultural crops in Aragon and Catalonia. This image of north-eastern Spain looks a bit like a geometric hopscotch or an agricultural quilt covering the Earth. Photo #11 by KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute)

ISS shot of Earth's Moon

ISS shot of Earth’s Moon. Photo #12 by NASA

Jules Verne ATV following undocking from the ISS

Jules Verne ATV after undocking from the ISS. Backdropped by a blue and white Earth, ESA’s Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (lower left) appears to be very small as it continues its relative separation from the International Space Station. Photo #13 by NASA

Grand Canyon from ISS

We looked at the Grand Canyon from an on-Earth perspective, but looking down at the Grand Canyon from the ISS and outer space is completely different. Photo #14 by NASA

Rainbow over the equatorial Pacific

It’s very faint, but the ISS crew captured this rainbow over the equatorial Pacific. Photo #15 by NASA / Visible Earth

Indianapolis raceway racetrack

ISS shot of the Indianapolis raceway. Photo #16 by NASA

International Space Station March 2011

International Space Station March 2011. Photo #17 by NASA

Sunrise 1 of 16 sunrises ISS astronauts see everyday

This is but 1 of 16 sunrises ISS astronauts see everyday! On Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, International Space Station astronaut Ron Garan used a high definition camera to film the rising sun as the station flew along a path between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo #18 by NASA

Lit up night view of the Nile River and its delta

Lit up night view of the Nile River and its delta. Photo #19 by NASA

Contrail graffiti over the North Sea

While you’ve no doubt looked up at jet trails, this is contrail graffiti over the North Sea. The Envisat MERIS image over the North Sea captures numerous aircraft condensation trails, or ‘contrails’, as well as parts of the Netherlands (upper right), Belgium (lower right) and England (lower left). Photo #20 by ESA

Hurricane Earl, eye, spiral bands, sea surface from ISS - The Astronaut View

The Astronaut View: Hurricane Earl as seen from the ISS. Photo #21 by NASA

Floating city - The islands that make up the Italian city of Venice and the surrounding Venetian Lagoon

When we think of Venice, we often imagine romantic boat rides through canals. But this is the view from ‘outer space.’ Floating City – The islands that make up the Italian city of Venice and the surrounding Venetian Lagoon. Photo #22 by European Space Imaging (EUSI)

Eclipse View from the ISS

Eclipse View from the ISS. The International Space Station was in position to view the umbral – ground – shadow cast by the moon as it moved between Earth and the sun during a solar eclipse. This astronaut image captures the umbral shadow across southern Turkey, northern Cyprus and the Mediterranean Sea. Photo #23 by NASA

Kounotori2 Approaches Space Station

Kounotori2 Approaches Space Station. The unpiloted Japanese Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) delivered more than four tons of food and supplies to the space station and its crew members. Photo #24 by NASA

Mississippi River and agricultural fields of Arkansas from ISS

Mississippi River and agricultural fields of Arkansas from the ISS. Photo #25 by NASA

ISS shot of Ariane 5 rocket, just after lift off from Europe's Spaceport

ISS shot of Ariane 5 rocket, just after liftoff from Europe’s Spaceport. The Expedition 26 crew had a special interest in the occurrence. The ESA’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle, Johannes Kepler, had launched a short time earlier for an eventual link-up with the ISS. The unmanned supply ship delivered critical supplies and reboost the space station during its almost four-month mission. Photo #26 by NASA

The heart-shaped island of Galešnjak

The heart-shaped island of Galešnjak. The 500 m-wide island is situated off the Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea, between the city of Turanj (visible in white stretching along Croatia’s mainland coast) and the Island of Pasman (bottom left). Other visible islands include (left to right): Garmenjak (bottom), Mala Bisaga, Vela Bisaga, Ricul and Komornik. Photo #27 by JAXA, ESA

Madagascar jellyfish

Madagascar jellyfish taken from Japan’s ALOS observation satellite and not the ISS, but still, what a wowza sight! The red coloring of the sandbars and islands between the ‘jellyfish tentacles’ comes from sediments washed from hills and into the streams and rivers during heavy rain. Photo #28 by JAXA, ESA

Moon from ISS

Moon from ISS. Photo #29 by NASA

ATV at about 20 km from ISS

ATV as seen by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the International Space Station. Photo #30 by ESA/NASA

Man-made island in the Persian Gulf

A partly man-made island located in the Persian Gulf some 25 nautical miles northwest of Abu Dhabi. Photo #31 by JAXA, ESA

picture of Hurricane Ike by the ISS crew

Picture of Hurricane Ike by the ISS crew. Photo #32 by NASA

ISS eye to the universe - Tranquility

ISS eye to the universe – Tranquility. Astronauts onboard the ISS acquired a new view of Earth after the space shuttle Endeavour delivered the Tranquility module to the station. Measuring 15 feet wide by 23 feet long, Tranquility holds some of the station’s environmental control equipment, such as the system that cleans carbon dioxide from the air, and it also provides living space for exercise equipment and a bathroom. Tranquility also comes with a cupola, a dome-shaped viewing port made up of seven windows. Photo #33 by NASA

Aurora Australis from space – RAW VISION: Astronauts on the International Space Station film the aurora australis, or “southern lights,” while passing over the Indian Ocean on September 17, 2011. #34

What does it feel like to fly over planet Earth? #36


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