Earth from the window of the International Space Station
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the International Space Station (ISS) – that bright white light that races across the night sky as we stare up in awe from the surface.
With a team of astronauts on board, not only are we looking up at them, but they are also looking down on us, capturing some amazing images of our planet’s surface.
In the recent days, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry W. Virts, both astronauts currently living on the ISS, have been taken some stunning pictures.
Our delicate atmosphere
As the sun sets in the distance, illuminating the thin haze that is our planet’s delicate atmosphere, city lights flare up on the surface.
— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) February 16, 2015
Italy’s heel with a hint of airglow
The distinctive shape of Italy is lit up by the many towns and cities along its long coastline, with the bonus of a faint green airglow on the distant horizon.
France and the UK sandwich the English Channel
Whilst not obvious at first, if you tilt your head to the right, you can make out the bright lights of London, just beneath the ISS’s solar panel. The dark areas shows the English Channel, with two tiny dots representing the Channel Islands – just off the coast of France.
Clear night today on both sides of the English channel. Notte serena oggi sulle due sponde della Manica. pic.twitter.com/fwuT0s2Bdw
— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) February 15, 2015
Winter storm over New England
This huge blanket of cloud is a winter storm that has been pounding the far north east of the US with record-breaking amounts of snow.
Business as normal over the sunshine state
As the north east of the US shivers in winter’s icy grip, the state of Florida looks as sunny, warm and inviting as you’d imagine.
Automated Transfer Vehicle leaving the ISS
This time lapse video shows Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) leaving the ISS for the final time, set to destruct upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, following its final cargo delivery.
When you can see the ISS
The ISS will be visible from the UK in the coming days, zipping across the sky at around 17,000mph, at the following times;
Monday 16 February at 6.02pm
Tuesday 17 February at 6.46pm
Wednesday 18 February at 5.53pm
Thursday 19 February at 6.36pm
Generally, the best way to spot it when it is due to pass over the UK is to look west for a fast-moving bright white light, rising upwards across the sky. When you spot it, you’ll have no doubt at all that you’re looking at the right thing.
If you manage to taken any photos of it as it passes overhead, you can share them with me on Twitter – @liamdutton