Here are the top ten most beautiful Earth photos taken by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018. Which one is your favorite? Or if your favorite image was not listed here, please leave a comment below. To see all images taken from the International Space Station and published by NASA, visit Space Station Images.
1. Southeastern Europe, Italy and into the Mediterranean Sea, April 7
This Earth view taken by an Expedition 55 crew member aboard the International Space Station looks over southeastern Europe, across Italy,
2. The Aurora and the Sunrise, April 11
“Sunrise crashes an aurora party over the southern hemisphere,” said astronaut Ricky Arnold of the image he snapped from the International Space Station.
3. Full Moon Over Newfoundland, April 30
The crew of the International Space Station snapped this image of the Full Moon on April 30, 2018, as the station orbited off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The station orbits 220 miles, or 354 kilometers, above the Earth, completing one trip around the globe every 92 minutes. Cruising along at 17,200 miles, or 27,700 kilometers per hour, the astronauts experience 15 or 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.
4. The Darling River in the city of Wilcannia, May 18
A portion of the Darling River in the city of Wilcannia is pictured in the Australian state of New South Wales. The Darling River is the third-longest river in Australia, measuring 1,472 kilometers (915 mi) from its source in northern New South Wales to its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth, New South Wales. Including its longest contiguous tributaries, it is 2,844 km (1,767 mi) long, making it the longest river system in Australia.
5. New Jersey and New York City, June 19
The commercial ports of the state of New Jersey and four out of five boroughs that make up New York City, including portions of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and almost all of Manhattan, are pictured from the International Space Station. The Hudson River separates Manhattan from New Jersey. The East River separates Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens while the Harlem River separates the Bronx from Manhattan.
6. The Canadarm2 and the Caspian Sea, June 21
Canada’s 57.7-foot-long robotic arm, also known as the Canadarm2, with a latching end effector at its tip (used to grapple approaching spacecraft and portable data grapple fixtures) is pictured in the foreground as the International Space Station was orbiting over the Caspian Sea.
Launched to the ISS in 2001, Canadarm2 plays a key role in station assembly and maintenance; it moves equipment and supplies around the station, supports astronauts working in space, and services instruments and other payloads attached to the ISS and is used for external maintenance. Astronauts receive specialized training to enable them to perform these functions with the various systems of the Canadarm2.
7. SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft over Italy, July 2
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold took this photo on July 2, 2018. SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft is approaching the International Space Station.
8. West Coast of Southern Africa, September 29
September 29, 2018. European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst took this photo on September 29, 2018, and published on his Twitter account saying “Not many artists in this world are as creative as Mother Nature. Check out this landscape on the west coast of southern Africa”.
9. Celestial view of Earth’s atmospheric glow and the Milky Way, October 7
On October 7, 2018, the International Space Station was orbiting about 256 miles above South Australia when a camera onboard the orbital complex captured this celestial view of Earth’s atmospheric glow and the Milky Way.
The orange hue enveloping Earth is known as airglow – diffuse bands of light that stretch 50 to 400 miles (80-644 km) into our atmosphere.
The Stars, Like Dust (see notes 1)
As you can see, there are stars in the photo above, because it is a long exposure photo (see notes 2).
10. Cyprus and the East Mediterranean, October 8
Cyprus and the East Mediterranean. October 8, 2018. South is up. European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst took this photo on October 8, 2018, and published on his Twitter account.
- “The Stars, Like Dust” is a 1951 science fiction mystery book by the American writer Isaac Asimov. It is part of Asimov’s Galactic Empire series and takes place long before the actual founding of the Galactic Empire. Before even Trantor becomes important.
- I can’t believe that people still asking “why are there no stars when the astronauts take pictures from space?“ or “why are there no stars in the moon landing photos” etc. Especially, conspiracy theorists (henceforth conspiracists) frequently point out that there are no stars in the Apollo photographs. The explanation is so simple: why you cannot see the stars at noontime? Or, when there is a full moon go outside and see how many stars you can find compared to a night when the moon is not out. You will see the difference. The stars are very faint and get washed out by the bright light of the moon. The reason why no or very few stars can be seen is that of the Earth. The Earth, when lit by the Sun, is many thousands of times brighter than the stars around it. As a result, the Earth is so bright that it swamps out most if not all of the stars. The truth is, as you can see in some of the photos above, stars are sometimes seen in International Space Station videos and photographs taken while the ISS is on the night side of the Earth. Stars are rarely seen in Space Shuttle, Mir, Earth observation photos, or even sporting events that take place at night. The light from the Sun in outer space in the Earth-Moon system is at least as bright as the sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface on a clear day at noon, so cameras used for imaging subjects illuminated by sunlight are set for daylight exposure. The dim light of the stars simply does not provide enough exposure to record visible images.