Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast glimmers in International Space Station image

A beautiful view of Earth from space, as seen by astronauts on the International Space Station

Published: May 23, 2020 at 8:22 am
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Earth from space: the Red Sea Coast of Saudi Arabia captured from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/ESA
Earth from space: the Red Sea Coast of Saudi Arabia captured from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/ESA

The Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia glimmers through the darkness in this incredible image of Earth from space captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

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The curvature of Earth can be seen in the middle of the image, while at the top the blackness of space stretches onwards, peppered with just a few visible stars.

Facts about the International Space Station

  • 240 astronauts from 19 different nations countries have lived and worked on the Earth-orbiting laboratory, which has been continuously occupied since November 2000.
  • Crews onboard are travelling at 5 miles per second, orbiting Earth roughly once every 1.5 hours.
  • In 24 hours, the ISS makes 16 orbits of Earth and sees 16 sunrises and sunsets.
  • The reason astronauts on the ISS float is not because there is no gravity, but rather because there is gravity. The space station is in constant free-fall, but its orbital position means that it continuously dips beyond Earth's horizon.
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Image stats

  • Observatory International Space Station
  • Release date 7 May 2020
  • Image credit NASA/ESA

Authors

Iain Todd, BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Iain ToddScience journalist

Iain Todd is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Content Editor. He fell in love with the night sky when he caught his first glimpse of Orion, aged 10.

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