Remember when the term ‘selfie’ became a buzzword in 2013? Around the same time, astronaut Mike Hopkins’ space selfie gained its own kind of fame. Although it wasn’t the first-ever space selfie, it was certainly one of the most memorable.
This selfie was more than just a photo; it provided a rare glimpse of Earth from space and showcased the risks astronauts take to capture such moments. But space selfies are just the tip of the iceberg. Astronauts like Reid Wiseman and Chris Hadfield regularly share breathtaking photos from space on social media.
So, we’ve curated a collection of 20 awe-inspiring photos taken by astronauts, complete with the stories behind them. Enjoy!
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Photo #1: The Moon’s Grand Exit
The Sun isn’t the only celestial body that rises and sets. The Moon does too, as captured in this photo. This phenomenon is known as Moonset.
Photo #2: The Supermoon of 2014
Missed the Supermoon on August 13, 2014? Don’t worry, American astronaut Reid Wiseman has you covered with this stunning photo.
Photo #3: Sunset Over the Indian Ocean
Witness the Sun setting over the Indian Ocean, as seen from the International Space Station (ISS).
Photo #4: The New Moon Over the Pacific
Catch a glimpse of the New Moon over the southeast Pacific Ocean. Notice the thin crescent at the bottom where the Moon reflects sunlight.
Photo #5: The Stark Contrast Between North and South Korea
This photo starkly illustrates the differences between North and South Korea. South Korea is ablaze with city lights on the right, while North Korea remains in darkness. A brighter spot indicates the location of Pyongyang.
Photo #6: The Aurora Borealis from Space
The Aurora Borealis is already a mesmerizing sight from Earth. Imagine its splendor when viewed from space! This photo was taken from the ISS over the eastern North Atlantic, featuring city lights from the UK and Ireland.
Photo #7: Rocket Attacks Over Israel and Gaza
This night view might look like a regular cityscape until you notice bursts of light, which are actually rocket attacks over Israel and Gaza. The photo was taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst.
Photo #8: Dubai’s Nighttime Splendor
Dubai’s nighttime landscape is a favorite subject among astronauts, and it’s easy to see why. The man-made Palm Island is visible at the top left corner.
Photo #9: Bolivia’s Golden River
This winding river in Bolivia appears like a golden thread due to the reflection of sunlight. The Sun is situated off to the right, illuminating the river.
Photo #10: Mount Vesuvius from Above
Here’s how Mount Vesuvius in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, appears from space. It’s unsettling to see how closely towns and cities are situated around this active volcano.
Photo #11: Japan’s Majestic Mount Fuji
Astronauts also capture stunning images of mountains, like this one of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak.
Photo #12: Life Blooms in the Ocean
This photo captures the growth of phytoplankton, a plant-like organism, off the coasts of Oregon and Washington. The milky green trail is a sign of life flourishing in the ocean.
Photo #13: Hawke Bay, New Zealand’s Oceanic Beauty
The ocean always looks stunning from above, as evidenced by this part of Hawke Bay in New Zealand.
Photo #14: Typhoon Haiyan Engulfs the Philippines
Remember Typhoon Haiyan? This is how it appeared from spaceÃ¢ÂÂa massive swirl of clouds engulfing the Philippines.
Photo #15: Lightning Flashes Over West Africa
From space, lightning flashes appear even brighter than city lights. This photo captures such a moment over West Africa.
Photo #16: The Eye of Sahara, Mauritania
Also known as the Richat Structure in Mauritania, the ‘Eye of Sahara’ is a landmark for astronauts.
Photo #17: The Grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef truly lives up to its name, as seen in this section off the east coast of Australia.
Photo #18: A Glimpse Beyond Earth
Astronauts occasionally turn their gaze away from Earth, and the view is equally magnificent. Here, the ATV fires its boosters to adjust the ISS’s orbit.
Photo #19: Spacewalk Maintenance on the ISS
Astronauts also capture moments during spacewalks, especially when performing maintenance on the ISS.
Photo #20: Star Trails Captured in Long Exposure
Astronaut Don Pettit used long exposure to create this mesmerizing photo of star trails.