Skip to main content

Three awesome Earth photos captured from space this week

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been showing off their photographic skills again, with three crew members this week posting eye-catching images of Earth.

First up is this stunning effort from Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut who’s made quite a name for himself as one of the top space-based photographers of recent times.

A part of Australia captured from the space station.
Thomas Pesquet/ESA

The beautiful photo resembles an oil painting and, at a stretch, gives us an idea of what van Gogh might have come up with had he had the chance to take his brush and palette knife into orbit.

Pesquet captured the image earlier this week as the space station passed over Australia at an altitude of 250 miles, though the astronaut doesn’t say what part of the country it shows.

Next we have this fabulous aerial view of San Francisco that was posted by NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, with the city’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge easy to spot near the center of the shot.

San Francisco as seen from the space station.
Megan McArthur/NASA

McArthur’s image also shows the Gulf of the Farallones, San Francisco Bay, the city itself, and, if you look toward the bottom of the image, Alcatraz Island.

McArthur tweeted the photo with birthday greetings for the Golden Gate National Park Service, which this week turned 49.

Finally, check out this surreal image shared by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

U.S. farmland captured from the space station.
Shane Kimbrough/NASA

No, it’s not a scattering of giant CDs or some unexplained crop-circle phenomenon.

Rather, it’s a patch of U.S. farmland that uses a sprinkler system that rotates around a central point. The process, known as “center pivot irrigation,” eventually leads to circular fields of crops like the ones shown here. Pesquet captured a similar image earlier this year when the space station passed over Saudi Arabia.

Despite the enviable vantage point high above Earth, it’s not as easy as you might think to capture striking images from the space station. The astronauts are busy conducting science experiments or working on other tasks during most of their time aboard the ISS, and so they only have limited opportunities to peer out of the window with a camera in hand. Pesquet recently revealed the preparation and research that he undertakes to give him the best chance of snapping amazing pictures during his time aboard the station.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SpaceX given clearance to launch Starship megarocket this week
SpaceX's Starship spacecraft stacked atop the Super Heavy booster ahead of its third test flight.

SpaceX's Starship rocket is stacked for its fourth test flight. SpaceX

SpaceX has received a long-awaited launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and will attempt to send the Starship megarocket on its fourth test flight on Thursday.

Read more
How to watch Europe launch a new Earth observation satellite tonight
Artist's view of EarthCARE on board a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Equipped with four instruments, the Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) satellite mission has been designed to make a range of different measurements that together will shed new light on the role that clouds and aerosols play in regulating Earth’s climate.

Artist's view of EarthCARE on board a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Equipped with four instruments, the Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) satellite mission has been designed to make a range of different measurements that together will shed new light on the role that clouds and aerosols play in regulating Earth’s climate. ESA - P. Carril

Tonight, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch its latest mission: a satellite called EarthCARE, which will observe clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere to learn more about climate change. The launch will be live streamed, so if you'd like to watch along and learn about this new mission, then we have all the details on how to watch below.
What to expect from the launch
The EarthCARE mission will be launched using a SpaceX Falcon 9, and the launch will take place from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission's full name, Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer, demonstrates what the satellite is designed to do: research aerosols in the atmosphere and how they contribute to atmospheric heating and cooling. A big part of this research is understanding the role of clouds in this heating and cooling process, which is important for long-term research into climate change.

Read more
Euclid space telescope captures stunning images of far-off galaxies
This image is released as part of the Early Release Observations from ESA’s Euclid space mission. All data from these initial observations are made public on 23 May 2024 – including a handful of unprecedented new views of the nearby Universe, this being one. This breathtaking image features Messier 78 (the central and brightest region), a vibrant nursery of star formation enveloped in a shroud of interstellar dust. This image is unprecedented – it is the first shot of this young star-forming region at this width and depth.

This image is released as part of the Early Release Observations from ESA’s Euclid space mission. This breathtaking image features Messier 78 (the central and brightest region), a vibrant nursery of star formation enveloped in a shroud of interstellar dust. This image is unprecedented, as it is the first shot of this young star-forming region at this width and depth. ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi

New images from the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Euclid telescope show a gorgeous range of cosmic objects, from bustling stellar nurseries to enormous galaxy clusters. The first science data from the telescope has also been released, showing how the telescope will contribute to the study of dark matter and dark energy.

Read more