Having been stuck in the Netherlands due to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull I’ve finally managed to escape, if only to the UK. While this was nowhere near as impressive as my Escape from Belgium during a total public transport strike it was still a bit stressful. 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 Observatory has a few amazing images of the ash cloud drifting out over Europe. If you are still stuck feel free to shake your fist at the screen while looking at these.
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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.