14 Stunning Photos Taken By Astronaut Scott Kelly That Will Make You Proud to Be an Earthling

RealClear Staff

            

Astronaut Scott Kelly has retired after spending a year in space, but his incredible photos will live on. During his 340 days in space, he snapped pictures with his Nikon D4 digital camera and posted them to his more than a million followers on Twitter and Instagram.

1. Top of the World, Ma!

The Bahamas look lovely from 250 miles up. Kelly is looking down from the International Space Station’s Cupola observation module. 

2. The Red Planet?

We should mention that none of these photos tweeted by Kelly were digitally manipulated or photoshopped in any way. This is Earth in all its real glory. In this shot,  Kelly captures South Africa at night. The red glow is caused by oxygen atoms releasing energy after collisions with high-energy space particles. 

3. The Reach of the Desert

The southern Sahara desert in southwest Egypt stretches its tentacles toward the border with Libya. 

4. Iranian Airspace

This one is from February 16, 2016, depicting the emerald hue of northwest Iran’s Lake Urmia, the country’s most famous lake.

5. Delivery Order

Kelly catches the launch of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, which was sent from Florida’s Cape Canaveral in December 2015. It contained more than 7,000 pounds of supplies. Hey, check your receipt and make sure they got the order right!

6. You're So Vein

Australia’s Diamantina River, in the eastern part of the country, runs through the Great Artesian Basin, one of the world’s largest and deepest aquifers. 

7. Perspectives

Here's a neat bit of action photography: You have the Earth (over the East Indian Ocean), the International Space Station (Kelly's ride), and the Milky Way galaxy in one shot. “You’re old, dusty, gassy and warped,” he wrote of our galaxy. “But beautiful.” 

8. A River Runs Through It

Night in Shanghai, China, with the Huangpu River, the city’s main shipping artery, snaking through.

9. There's a Storm Coming...

Astronaut Kelly spotted Tropical Storm Bill in the Gulf of Mexico as it neared the coast of Texas. The storm dropped heavy rains on Texas and much of the Midwest in June 2015. 

10. The Water Only Looks Inviting

La’nga Co is a saltwater lake in western Tibet just north of the China-India border. The lake holds no fish and no aquatic plants, and its Sanskrit name (Rakshas Tal) means “lake of the demon.” 

11. Lights ... Camera ... Action!

If you thought the aurora borealis looked awesome from the planet surface, check out the view from above. The colorful light show is caused by high-energy particles interacting with Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. Spectacular!

12. I Can See Russia from My House!

What's colder, outer space or Russia in wintertime? Kelly took this interesting view of snow-covered agricultural plots in Novopersianovka, in southeast Russia. 

13. Mountainous Terrain

Northwest China looks lonely and barren from this vantage point.

14. Boot on the Ground

Italy and the Alps look brilliant at night. But know this about the bright lights: More than 80 percent of Italy’s power comes from greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. 

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