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What earth looks like from the International Space Station’s window

What earth looks like from the International Space Station’s window

Unless you have been aboard the International Space Station (or maybe its Russian predecessor, Mir), you haven’t seen the world like this. This is what the earth looks like from the window of the only inhabited outpost in space, 250 miles above the planet’s surface.

As long as there’s been space travel, astronauts (and cosmonauts and taikonauts) have taken pictures from orbit, but none has been as prolific or as accessible as the current commander of the International Space Station (ISS), Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. (Stephen Quick, director of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, has characterized Hadfield as “the spaceman from next door.”) Hadfield makes videos about life in space and the experiments aboard the station and uploads them to the Canadian Space Agency’s YouTube page, while posting photos taken from the ISS’s observatory window to his Twitter feed and Tumblr page. Dr. Thomas Marshburn, the flight engineer on the current ISS expedition, is also posting his photos to Twitter.

The Canadian Centre of Geographic Sciences, meanwhile, has collected the astronauts’ pictures in an interactive map, “Our World from the ISS,” which can be accessed online here. The images are stunning, from Washington, D.C., at night, to the Euphrates River winding through Ramadi, Iraq, to natural features like Mt. Fuji in Japan and the bizarre Richat Structure in Mauritania. Check out some of the images below:

Washington, D.C.

Euphrates River, Iraq

Mt. Fuji, Japan

Richat Structure, Mauritania