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Gorgeous ISS capture shows Caribbean and curvature of Earth

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn has shared a breathtaking image taken from the International Space Station (ISS) showing the curvature of Earth as well as part of the Caribbean.

A view of the Caribbean from the International Space Station.
NASA

Marshburn captured the photo during a spacewalk last month before sharing it on Twitter at the weekend.

In his tweet, the experienced astronaut described the Caribbean Sea, with its beautiful blue colors, as “a candidate for the second favorite view of the Earth from space,” adding that an astronaut’s favorite view is of course the one of their home nation.

A candidate for the second favorite view of the Earth from space: the Caribbean Sea, seen here during a spacewalk below the @JAXA_en external experiment platform. Everyone’s favorite view? Their home country! pic.twitter.com/5mvAGUbFKI

— Thomas H. Marshburn (@AstroMarshburn) January 7, 2022

Those familiar with the Caribbean should be able to spot southeast Cuba at the bottom of Marshburn’s shot, though the country’s capital city of Havana is obscured by the station’s solar arrays.

The picture was captured around 250 miles above Earth, with the wide view showing off the curvature of Earth. As Marshburn points out in his tweet, the image also includes Japan’s external experiment platform, seen to the right of the photo.

Marshburn took the image during his fifth spacewalk, with his previous four taking place during ISS visits in 2013 and 2009. The American astronaut spent 6 hours and 32 minutes outside the station together with his colleague, Kayla Barron, who was on her very first spacewalk.

The pair arrived at the ISS in November along with NASA’s Raja Chari and Matthias Maurier of the European Space Agency. They’ll stay aboard the orbiting outpost for around six months, returning in late April.

While astronauts aboard the ISS spend most of their time working on science experiments, occasional spacewalks are also essential for maintaining and upgrading the station, with the unique vantage point also providing an excellent opportunity for Earth observation work and photo captures.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet regularly posted amazing Earth shots during a recent stay at the ISS, and he also took time out to explain the kind of planning required to capture the impressive images.

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Trevor Mogg
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