It took NASA astronaut Josh Cassada just two words to sum up a glorious portrait of Earth taken from the International Space Station: “Absolutely unreal.” The view shows Earth, seemingly dangling upside-down, with a green aurora light show dancing along the planet’s curve.
Cassada tweeted the image on Tuesday without offering any more details on it. The white specks on the planet are city lights, while the ethereal green aurora seems to blanket a broad stretch of the world. The shiny, sword-like objects in the foreground are some of the station’s solar power arrays.
Cassada is part of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission that arrived at the ISS in October of last year with a scheduled return to Earth in March. The scenic green aurora suggests the image may be a recent capture showing the earthly aftermath of our sun’s activities. An extraordinary northern lights display was visible as far down as southern England on Sunday night.
The eye-catching image received praise from space fans and from NASA astronaut Bob Hines, who is currently down on Earth. “Wow, nice shot!” Hines tweeted in response. That’s high praise coming from Hines, who knows a thing or two about spotting auroras from the ISS.
The image joins a stellar lineup of beautiful Earth shots from the ISS. It speaks to the vastness of space, the ethereal nature of auroras and the reach of humanity, represented here by the lights we shine in the dark.