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Astronaut’s stunning image of Key West looks like a painting

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata has been showing off his photography skills, sharing some impressive shots taken from the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbited Earth on Sunday.

The most impressive among his latest set is this stunner (below) of Key West at the western tip of the Florida Keys archipelago.

Fantastic view of Key West, Florida from the ISS when we flew over about an hour ago!

— 若田光一 WAKATA Koichi (@Astro_Wakata) January 22, 2023

We’re sure you’ll agree, the image is a thing of beauty and looks more like a painting than a photograph.

Among other images shared by Wakata on Sunday is this one showing the Strait of Gibraltar, the sea lane between southern Spain and Morocco in northwest Africa.

Clear skies over Strait of Gibraltar!

— 若田光一 WAKATA Koichi (@Astro_Wakata) January 22, 2023

Wakata also snapped this amazing picture showing Africa’s Richat Structure — also known as the “the eye of the Sahara” — an eroded geological dome with a diameter of 25 miles (40 kilometers).

Richat Structure, “ The Eye of the Sahara”, located at the western edge of the Sahara Desert, is clearly visible from the ISS!

— 若田光一 WAKATA Koichi (@Astro_Wakata) January 22, 2023

And check out this extraordinary view of the island of Madagascar, located off the east coast of Africa.

Great view of Madagascar from the ISS. Beautiful contrast of the land, vegetation, rivers, clouds, and the surrounding ocean!

— 若田光一 WAKATA Koichi (@Astro_Wakata) January 22, 2023

Wakata arrived at the ISS in October 2022 as part of SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission. The station’s orbit about 250 miles above Earth offers astonishing views, though spotting the best sites usually requires some careful planning.

Astronauts with an interest in Earth photography often head to the facility’s Cupola during their downtime, with a camera and long lens in hand. The Cupola is a seven-window module that offers superb views of our planet and beyond, though the excellent visibility that the module offers means that it’s also used to monitor the approach and departure of spacecraft, and spacewalks, too.

Besides spending time sharing awesome images with his social media followers, Wakata is also working on a slew of science experiments and just a few days ago embarked on his first spacewalk.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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