Volcanoes from space (not space volcanoes)


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This amazing image of an erupting volcano was a lucky shot taken by the astronauts in the International Space Station, whose orbit just happened to pass over it at the right moment. Now I know that technically this blog is supposed to be about things outside the Earth, which should rule out this picture, but I’m making an exception as it comes from NASA! The volcano itself is called Sarychev Peak and it’s located in the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan and the picture was taken with a normal digital camera, fitted with a 400 mm lens.

I didn’t realise until I investigated this photo further that the astronauts on the Space Station are trained, assisted and encouraged to take photos like this by NASA’s Image Science & Analysis Laboratory. All the resulting images are also available on the internet at The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. There are over 600,000 photos on the site, including images from the earliest space missions so they form an important scientific resource for people studying how the Earth has changed over the past decades. It can also provide the answers to some less serious questions…

If you’re interested in volcanoes, more information on the photo (reference: ISS020-E-9048) can be found here.


5 Comments on “Volcanoes from space (not space volcanoes)”

  1. Niall says:

    There is a 3D image of the eruption on Astronomy Picture of the Day. Unfortunately I don’t have a pair of red-green glasses to hand. Link nabbed from Bad Astronomy.

  2. Liv says:

    Cheers, Em, that’s given me a good stretch of internet procrastination which also feels vaguely science-y. Good.

    You guys are putting some really interesting stuff up here.

  3. stuartlynn says:

    I also just found a video taken from the ISS of this. Probably old news by now but included for completeness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Riauw5UTnW8

  4. […] I’ve just had a chance to check the blog and found that Emma’s post from last year on Volcanoes from Space has become quite popular. Hence I had a bit of a dig around and found that the NASA Earth […]

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