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Our Earth can be a violent, desperate place. Sometimes it’s nice to take a broader view and be reminded the blue marble can also be a beautiful place to live. Astronaut Karen Nyberg joined the International Space Station as a flight engineer for Expedition 35 back in May. Picking up where former ISS denizen Chris Hadfield left off, Nyberg has taken to social media to share some amazing images from above Earth’s atmosphere.
From an inside look at space living (with boards such as “Science in Space” and “Hair and Space“) to breathtaking views of our home planet, Nyberg’s Pinterest page is a goldmine of space photos. Here are our nine favorites.
Water, Sans Gravity
Nyberg calls this “one of the coolest games in space.” In a weightless environment, water behaves quite differently than here on land. Thanks to the effects of surface tension, it tends to form eerily beautiful spheres. Here Nyberg plays with water sans gravity, and refraction, all in one fantastic picture.
The Nile on July 14, 2013
From such a distance, the Nile River (which is 4,132 miles long) looks modest as it snakes through Africa.
Many of these photos are taken from space and aimed at our home planet. This one, of the constellation Orion on August 15, 2013, gives us an awesome view of the familiar stars. We Earth-bound folk have looked to Orion to predict seasons and the best time to harvest crops. Home to stars such as Betelgeuse, it’s visible in the night sky from October through March.
Sunset over South America
There’s something incredible about seeing the sunset from space. On July 15, 2013, Nyberg captured that moment over the Rio de la Plata, or River of Silver, which runs through South America. As seen from space, it really lives up to its name.
Like many cities, Bangkok’s skyline doesn’t go to sleep, which adds to the light pollution that makes it so hard to see stars from Earth. You can see that from space in this photo: Here is Bangkok, with veins of city lights streaking through ghostly cloud cover, taken on August 15, 2013.
Nyberg calls these cloud patterns “really cool.” We agree! The Canary Islands off the coast of Spain may have been a bit overcast on July 6, 2013, but the sunbathers’ loss was clearly to our benefit.
Clouds on July 26, 2013
We gaze up at the sky and find shapes in the clouds. Nyberg looks down on the cotton stuff from above. “These look very botanical to me,” she writes.
This swirly looking coastal region is Iran along the Persian Gulf.
Feather Clouds on August 13, 2013
Some of the most beautiful photos aren’t ruined by cloud cover, rather the clouds take center stage. In this photo of the South Pacific, Nyberg notes she’s “seeing nature in nature.”