Beautiful Planet – Oh I so want to go to the ISS! [34 Pics]


Beautiful Planet: Indian Ocean Maldives

Indian Ocean Maldives
“The sunny side of life” is a catchphrase used to attract tourists to the Maldive Islands. Well it certainly looks heavenly from the ISS. Time to order a large drink, you know, one with a lot of fruit and a little umbrella, then stretch out on a hammock and just enjoy life, watching what I can only imagine a marvelous sunset.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA, Russian Federal Space Agency, Maxim Suraeva and Oleg Kotov


I for one am very pleased that the astronauts on the ISS (heroes in my humble opinion) keep sharing images of our beautiful planet with the rest of us. The privilege of viewing earth from space is only granted to a very select few. However, thanks to these images, it is almost like we get to go up there ourselves. For that I am truly grateful to the Astronauts, NASA and ESA. So if anyone, from any of the space programs, is reading this – From the bottom of my heart: Thank you!

The real kick is, we’ve seen images like this before, created in special effect studios in Hollywood. The difference is these are the real thing. Mother Earth sure is a beauty (at least when seen from the International Space Station). In the words of the immortal scat singer Louis Armstrong: “It’s a wonderful world…

[34 pictures]

Hint: Use “J” and “K” keys to navigate from picture to picture.

Beautiful Planet: Pacific Ocean Hawaii

Pacific Ocean Hawaii
Aloha! Scanning westward we approach the Hawaiian Islands. The Big Island is clearly visible. Kilauea is sometimes called “the world’s only drive-in volcano.” This prolific volcano currently produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day, enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road daily.

Beautiful Planet: Aurora Australis New Zealand

Aurora Australis, New Zealand
I do not think I have ever seen the Aurora from inside the Aurora itself. This images is awesome on so many levels. It reminds me of a laser show by Jean Michel Jarre – secretive and mysterious.

Beautiful Planet: East coast of Spain at Night

East coast of Spain at Night

Looking southward on to the east coast of Spain, at night, with the Balearic sea as a dark cloak. The Island of Mallorca is visible on the top left. With Barcelona’s bright lights behind some clouds, I’m reminded about my own bucket list. One day I want to go there to see FC Barcelona face Real Madrid.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Manam Volcano Papua New Guinea

Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea
Manam, is just 10 kilometers (6 miles) across. Manam is a stratovolcano, composed of alternating layers of ash, lava, and rocks from prior eruptions. Manam is one of Papua New Guinea’s most active volcanoes, and it has occasionally caused casualties, including 13 deaths from a pyroclastic flow in December 1996, and four deaths from a mudflow in March 2007. On a happier note, this image looks like a perfect movie set (Jurassic Park or King Kong comes to mind).
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: HTV on ISS backdrop East coast of Argentina

HTV on ISS backdrop East coast of Argentina
My stomach turns when I imaging actually being on the ISS, looking down on our beautiful planet (I suffer from vertigo). We see the Atlantic Ocean off the Argentinian coast. More precisely, we see San Matias Gulf.

Image credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Beaver Lake in Arkansas USA

Beaver Lake in Arkansas USA
Beaver Lake, a man-made reservoir, completed in 1966 and nestled high in the Ozark Mountains, is located in northwest Arkansas, the birthplace of the White River. Even if man-made lakes sometimes are destructive to wildlife, it is still pretty impressive how mankind can shape our planet.


Beautiful Planet: East Coast of USA last light on the horizon

East Coast of the USA, with the last light of the day visible on the horizon
With New York and Long Island on the bottom left we see a big chunk of the east coast at night. The last light of the day at the horizon is spectacular. I wonder if it’s still possible to pay 20 million or so to go to the ISS? If so, my only problem would be to find the 20 million…

Beautiful Planet: Earth and the stars

Earth and the stars
So this is what the Milky Way looks like when there are no annoying city lights to obstruct the view. To quote Dr. McCoy from Star Trek “In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more…only one of each of us.”


Beautiful Planet: Long Beach California night clouds

Long Beach California night clouds
Only half an hour from where I am in beautiful Santa Monica we have this place, Long Beach. The place where you can find “Queen Mary” and “The Aquarium of the Pacific”. One of the best things is to take a whale watching day trip when the gray whales migrate. They move right off the coast here.

Beautiful Planet: United Kingdom Ireland by night

United Kingdom and Ireland by night
Home to authors of Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare), Pride and Prejudice (Austin), Dracula (Stoker) and Harry Potter (J.K. Rowlings). The British Isles are magnificent and I always feel very drawn to them. I love the British (and Irish) people.

Beautiful Planet: ATV launch viewed from ISS

ATV launch viewed from ISS
Arianespace and ESA Launched an ATV bound for the ISS.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: ISS Solar Panels

ISS solar panels
The solar panels of the ISS is actually quite majestic. With the last light on the horizon the colors are enhanced and adds a bit of a mystery.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: French Rivera by Night

French Riviera by night
The Côte d’Azur is not only super expensive, super popular but also super beautiful. The moonlight reflection in the Mediterranean sea only enhances the beauty. This place might be the only place that really can rival southern California.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Barcelona, Spain by night

Barcelona, Spain by night
The lights from Barcelona are really bright here. It looks like a perfect cloud-free shot. It always surprises me how clear these night images of our beautiful planet are. A very nice picture.

Beautiful Planet: Super Moon

Super Moon
On March 19th of this year we had a “Super Moon” sighting across out planet. A “supermoon” is the coincidence of a full moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth. The moon photographed from the ISS is spectacular, and in this picture even Earth looks “trippy”.


Beautiful Planet: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as “the Cape”, is an island and a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusett. The Sun’s reflection turns the Atlantic into gold, highlighting the marvelous Cape. It’s almost like it’s on a “golden” shimmer.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Moscow, Russia by Night

Moscow, Russia by Night
A city with over 10 Million, Moscow is not only the capital of Russia but also, together with Paris, London, Madrid, Rome and many more great cities, the heart of European culture (art, music, dance, food and people). The Russians are passionate, proud, sexy but also highly intellectual, sophisticated and frankly a lot of fun. And the city is magnificent.


Beautiful Planet: Sunset off West Africa

Sunset off West Africa
This image puzzles me a bit. We can see the beautiful last glow of the sunset. But then there is the bright light on the horizon. The angle gives me two light sources?

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy
Well Sicily has been crowned the original home of the Mafia by the Godfather movies. I for one see beauty and and a majestic island, filled with passionate, food and music loving people, some courageously living in the shadow of a monster of a volcano (Etna). Not clear if it is the sunlight or moonlight reflected in the Mediterranean sea around it. In any case the shot is incredible.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Lake Qadisiyah on the Euphrates River, Iraq

Lake Qadisiyah on the Euphrates river, Iraq
Haditha Dam, an earth-fill dam on the Euphrates, north of Haditha, creating Lake Qadisiyah. From space it looks like a chinese dragon. There are many beautiful spots in Iraq, unfortunately unreachable due to the never ending violence and war. One day perhaps we can travel and experience the beauty of the Euphrates- and Tigris deltas, and all historical places it hides. Perhaps even the garden of Eden.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Heart shaped Atoll north east of Solomon Islands

Heart shaped atoll north east of Solomon Islands
This atoll is favored by the astronauts on the ISS. They sent us this on Valentines day (Feb 14th). An atoll is an island (or islands) of coral, that encircles a lagoon, partially or completely. If you look it up, you’ll find that an atoll is actually the top of an old volcano. Very beautiful and cleverly done by the ISS crew.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: San Quintin Glacier, Chile

San Quintin Glacier, Chile
The San Quintín Glacier is the largest outflow glacier of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field, in southern Chile. Like many glaciers worldwide during the twentieth century, San Quintín appears to be losing mass and retreating rapidly. Natural order, or man-made effect? I’m not going to speculate, but instead enjoy the beauty of a majestic glacier.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Crete, Greece and Turkey

Crete, Greece and Turkey
To continue this article of photos from space, I also found this crystal clear, day time image of Hellas (Greece), Turkey and the exciting island of Crete. Crete has a rich mythology, mostly connected with the ancient greek Gods, but also connected with the Minoan civilization. Among other Crete is the birthplace of the the God Zeus in greek mythology. The Island has the world famous labyrinth (Palace) of Knossos.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Nile River

Nile River
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is 6,650 km (4,130 miles) long. At the very bottom of the picture you can see where the Blue Nile joins with the White Nile, to form “the Nile”. It was while searching for the origins of the Nile that explorer Dr Livingston met up with Stanley, that in turn lead to the now famous expression: “Dr Livingston I presume?”


Beautiful Planet: Buenos Aires, Argentina - Rio de la Plata

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Rio de la Plata
Rio de la Plata, is the river formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Uruguay. It looks like a painting, with a silver blood vein fueling a grand heart down to the left. Very exotic, almost alien like, with stunning light reflections.


Beautiful Planet: Cyclone Dianne forms off the north west coast of Australia

Cyclone Dianne forms off the north west coast of Australia
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion, rotating in the same direction as the Earth. I’ve seen pictures of hurricanes and cyclones before but if you look close you can actually glance the planet beneath. Look at the center of the eye. It’s just a blue thread, but still pretty cool.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Somali Desert

Somali Desert
Beautiful red ‘coral’, north of Bacaadweyn, west of KalabaydhImage. This I have not seen before. It’s like the Earth is bleeding. Spectacular picture.
Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Chaco National Park Paraguay

Chaco National Park Paraguay
The great American Chaco is a plain of about 1.000.000 km2. It covers parts of Bolivia , Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The clouds around the edges make the planet below look like reptile scales. Perhaps it is where Godzilla is lurking.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Parque Nacional Los Glaceres Argentina

Parque Nacional Los Glaceres Argentina
Lago Argentino in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. It is the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina, with a surface area of 1,466 km2 (566 sq mi). However look closely and you can see an imprint of a body. Just like someone fell from the sky and made a huge impact.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Santiago, Cabo Verde

Santiago, Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde is an archipelago of 10 islands, located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa. Even if the name implies “green” it looks very dry to me. Santiago is the largest island of Cape Verde, with an area of 991 km². The island is mountainous, although slightly flatter in the southeast. Transcontinental slavery made Cidade Velha the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: The Dead Sea, Israel

The Dead Sea, Israel
The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth’s surface on dry land. The sea has a density of 1.24 kg/L, making swimming difficult but providing a relaxing floating experience.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Rio Sao Francisco, Brazil

Rio Sao Francisco, Brazil
The colors and shapes of the river and the fields make a beautiful, and unexpected composition. It’s like one of God’s paintings.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

Beautiful Planet: Sunset reflection in the Caspian Sea

Sunset reflection in the Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi). I decided to end my article with this magnificent shot. Our planet is pure gold. Cherish it, it’s the only one we got.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA


    • Awesome pix!
      BTW, millenium shift was in year 2000 (there was never a year 0, so beginning of a millenium starts with year 1,101,1901,2001 etc.)

      All the best and happy Easter!

  1. WOW I just found my little town in photo #15!! It’s a town called Castelldefels, about 17 km from Barcelona going south. It’s on the left in that photo, where the white bright light almost at the border… NICE!

  2. Oh… what a pity. NASA just cancelled their manned space program in order for the government to give more money to the ultra rich.

  3. Great pictures… the footnotes, though, they just read like “I had no idea what to write after this Wikipedia info, so I’ll just type some random idea starting with “it looks like…””.

    -“This I have not seen before”. What? You’ve never seen a picture of Bacaadweyn from the air? Shame on you!

    -What exactly makes Moscow “the heart of European culture”? Many of us in Europe are eager to know. Seriously.

  4. Awesome pictures! By the way, in number 4, you can see the lights of Madrid as well. It is the bright zone at the right of the picture, surrounded by the darkness of the Castilian Plateau (which is not so populated).

  5. This is GREAT – whats best is I got to look at all this without having to flip page after page for the sake of some advertisers. Classy presentation – great pictures. Thanks!

  6. I literally found I couldn’t breathe properly when I was looking at these photos. They actually took my breath away. I’ve never had that happen to me, ever. These are some of the most stunning photos I’ve ever seen.

  7. The straight down shot of Long Beach through the clouds gave me weak knees, and I am a pilot. Look at it, full screen, and imagine yourself hanging from the side of the space station looking down. Does it work?

    Great Caspian Sea photo, too.

  8. Its just breath taken . No words could sum up the pcitures or for the fact if you could see this in person. The planet is a wonder and we should never forget that.

  9. In #19 there is only one light source, the Sun. The blue glow happens because blue light tends to scatter in air, and that part of the Earth is in daylight. (This is also why the sky looks blue – we’re seeing scattered sunlight at an angle that is dominated by blue.)

  10. Nice collection of pics. I know these shots so well as many have been taken from the collection I have posted on twitpic (as seen by the enhancement features not contained in the original files of JSC). Of course, these pics are those of NASA/ESA but it would have been fair not to deliver the impression of having found them yourself. Some of the pics are rather old (in some instances, even many years) and hardly have been shown anywhere else. The originals are accessible to everyone in “The…

    • We tried to find original however if you have enhanced some of them we will give you credit for them. Please contact us via our contact form.

  11. I disagree with those who feel sad that Space Shuttle project was cancelled. If we need to take beautiful pictures of earth, we already have CIA and NSA spy satellites which can share the photos at 0.2cm scale, or the Hubble Space telescope. Or, we can hire Chinese/Indian/Brazil to launch a photo taking instrument using cheap camera device (launch cost there is $1000/10g, so for a 10kg satellite cost is mere $1Mln)

    Think what could we have achieved by feeding poor Somali or Guatemalan or…

  12. I’m never disappointed by the pics that are posted on this website. For me, a ride up to the ISS would be the penultimate trip of a lifetime to take..

  13. If the ISS can stay up for 10 more years why not the Suttles as the last 4 Shuttle have work great on all of there flight, why should we half to pay Russa 30million to fly our people to the ISS these Suttle still have good life in then if you are going to get ride of something I would say get ride of Obama.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing these pictures of the world we live on. They are really so very awesome.
    With so much water on our planet you would think it sould have been called WATER ?
    So many of us who inhabit this one planet, how small we are. Like a huge ant farm,
    God bless our beautiful world.

  15. How beautiful Manam volcano looks from outer space. Awesome! I was on the mainland (Madang Province) when Manam experineced the mudflow. Many people of Manam have been moved and resettled in care centres on the mainland.

  16. I love how beautiful our Earth, hate what some people want to do to it and it’s people… Don’t you realize we are all Brother’s and Sister’s, and how lucky we are to be living in this desolute Universe. Beautiful quality of pictures. Love them!

  17. Absolutely breath-taking photos. I’m listening to great gig in the sky by Pink Floyd and it’s really making me question why we haven’t been putting money into traversing the universe. I totally know what you mean when you say it would be an unreal experience to go up there. Why are we still funding so many wars? Anyways, thanks for the great upload!

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