Feature

Happy Earth Day! Our home, seen from space

Today we celebrate Earth Day with a few pictures of our 'Blue Marble' as seen from space.

Seeing our planet in a way so few have

(NOAA/NASA)

Today we celebrate Earth Day with a few pictures of our "Blue Marble" as seen from space.

(ESA/NASA)

Astronauts often say that one the most beautiful sights from space is the Bahamas. This archipelago consists of 700 individual islands, with most people living in the capital, Nassau, on Paradise Island.

(NASA) ( )

Here, the northern lights, or aurora borealis, dance high in the atmosphere above the Arctic. Another beautiful sight astronauts also often notice when looking down upon our home is the Manicouagan Crater in Quebec. The crater was created when an asteroid or large meteor slammed into Earth 200 million years ago.

(ESA/NASA) ( )

The floating city of Venice, Italy, seen from the International Space Station. The story of Venice started around 400 AD. Since then, it's become a major tourist destination with millions flocking to one of the most unique cities in the world.

(NASA/Terry Virts)

The sun sets over Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Gulf coast, in this image taken by International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 42 flight engineer Terry W. Virts. Astronauts on the space station see 16 sunrises and sunsets over 24 hours as it orbits about 400 km above Earth.

(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey) (NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey )

The meandering path of the Mackenzie River. This image was taken on Nov. 7, 2016 by the Landsat satellite. In the image is Inuvik (right of the Mackenzie), home to more than 3,000 people. 

(NASA)

We rarely get to see the Milky Way in all its glory due to light pollution. But the astronauts living on the ISS don't have to deal with that problem. 

(NASA)

The Namib Sand Sea covers an area of around 900,000 hectares and is, some astronauts say, one of the most spectacular things to see from the ISS.

(ESA/NASA)

The distinctive boot of Italy is easy to spot from the ISS. But what's also easy to spot is the light pollution. Due to its density, Europe has some of the worst light pollution in the world. However, efforts are being taken to curb light pollution.

(NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román)

Goodnight, Earth. While Europe may have its own light pollution issues, so does North America, particularly along the eastern seaboard. But better lighting practices being adopted in some cities may one day change the image of Earth at night so that bright, white dots will no long cover its surface.