For thousands of years, people looked up at the night sky looking at the stars, seeking guidance, dreaming. While centuries passed with humans using the night sky for navigation or to record the passage of time, it was only in the last century that we actually started reaching for those stars, and not metaphorically.

The first human in space, the first person on the Moon, the first person to orbit the Earth… the first big milestones in a tremendous journey for human spaceflight. And as humanity charts its course towards Mars, there are people orbiting the Earth as we speak, contributing to those plans of the future.

The International Space Station has been up in the low Earth orbit for over twenty years and has had 236 people from 18 countries (as of 14 March 2019) aboard. While all of them had scientific reasons to be there, they also took the chance to capture the breathtaking views that they witnessed. And luckily for us all, some of the astronauts shared some of their shots on their social media. So, if you’re one of the people whose heart is drawn towards the stars or you just like pretty sights, check out a different perspective and see what we look like from the sky’s point of view. Oh, and don’t forget to comment and vote for your favorites!

#1
Reid Wiseman

I still have trouble comprehending that this impossibly thin blue curve keeps everything alive beneath it.

1:49 PM - 8 Oct 2014

astro_reid Report

Agfox 4 months ago

Wait, the Earth's not flat???

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#2
Reid Wiseman

Unreal #EarthArt... – not clouds. These spirals are Pacific Ocean currents in sun glint.

10:09 AM - 16 Aug 2014

astro_reid Report

me 4 months ago

Pretty, looks like paint

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The ISS started as a joint project and there are 5 organizations taking part in it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). The first component of the ISS was launched in 1998 and only 2 years later, on 2 November 2000, the first long-term residents arrived at the station in low Earth orbit. The first expedition launched on October 31, 2000 and landed on March 21, 2001 with a crew of three: an American astronaut, William M. Shepherd, and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko. Expeditions refer to permanent ISS crews and exclude resupply missions and space tourists.

#3
Thomas Pesquet

The view at night recently has been simply magnificent: few clouds, intense #aurora.... I can’t look away from the windows

12:56 PM - 1 Apr 2017

Thom_astro Report

LanteiaTG 4 months ago

Breathtaking. I can't even grasp how utterly amazing this must look like in person.

#4
Reid Wiseman

A pop-up book for space travelers. Clouds reaching so high I couldn’t believe it.

11:46 AM - 5 Aug 2014

astro_reid Report

ptm45 4 months ago

show this pic to flat earthers

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The current crew aboard the ISS is Expedition 60 commanded by Aleksey Ovchinin, who transferred from Expedition 59 together with American flight engineers, Nick Hague and Christina Koch. The remaining 3 members of the crew, Aleksandr Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan, are scheduled to join them on the 20th of July, 2019. The expedition will last until October 2019 when Soyuz-MS-12 will undock from the station.

#5
Reid Wiseman

#SuperTyphoon... #Vongfang... – I’ve seen many from here, but none like this.

3:54 AM - 9 Oct 2014

astro_reid Report

Sheri DeMaio 4 months ago

You take some amazing pictures, but I also appreciate your thoughtful commentary. Thank you for sharing.

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#6
Christina H Koch

Years ago at the South Pole, I looked up to the aurora for inspiration through the 6-month winter night. Now I know they’re just as awe inspiring from above. #nofilter...

6:02 AM - 10 Jun 2019

Astro_Christina Report

JillVille 4 months ago

Stunning! I can't wait to see them just from below! This is extra!

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The ISS is a microgravity and space environment research laboratory where the crews conduct various experiments in a number of fields (biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and others). The station is also used to test various flight components and systems required for missions to the Moon and Mars. One of the experiments conducted by the crew involved sending frozen mice embryos to the ISS to test the effects of radiation from the sun and cosmic sources. The embryos will then be sent back to Earth to be implanted into surrogate mothers where scientists would observe their lives and possible changes in their lifespan, cancer development, and gene mutations.

#7
Reid Wiseman

The rings of #Moscow... at night - been trying to get this shot for a long time. #success...

6:08 AM - 28 Sep 2014

astro_reid Report

JillVille 4 months ago

Looks like a spider's web!

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#8
Christina H Koch

Moonrise over the atmosphere.

4:00 PM - 16 Apr 2019

Astro_Christina Report

Danish Dynomummy 4 months ago

Absolutely stunning

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The current record holder and the person who spent the most time in space (879 days) is RKA cosmonaut Gennady Padalka who was aboard Mir, a space station that was operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia and was deorbited in 2001 and the ISS. The people who spent the longest time aboard the International Space Station are Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly who went on a year-long mission in March 2015 and spent 340.4 days in total aboard the spacecraft. Kelly was also part of the Astronaut Twin Study, where one twin brother spent a year in space while the other spent the same amount of time on Earth. NASA compared the data and found several long-lasting changes, including those related to alterations in DNA and cognition.

#9
Сергей Рязанский

Когда на нашей планете наступает ночь... Buona notte, #Italia...! 🇮🇹🌃

1:10 PM - 2 Aug 2017

SergeyISS Report

Juan Castellucci 4 months ago

La vita é un sogno è qui la mía vita

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#10
Nick Hague

Celebrating #StPatricksDay... watching the aurora from @Space_Station... this year!

5:10 PM - 17 Mar 2019

AstroHague Report

me 4 months ago

That's so cool

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#11
Randy Bresnik

What do you do when your 7 and 11 year-old children ask you if you have pets in space? ….you make them of course!

2:41 PM - 18 Sep 2017

AstroKomrade Report

Nikki D 4 months ago

I didn't know there were so many windows!

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#12
Chris Hadfield

Ignoring our changing climate is just sticking fingers in our ears & yelling "La La La" while the problem grows. We have one, shared world.

5:27 AM - 2 Jun 2017

Cmdr_Hadfield Report

TheUntrustworhyEverythingBagal 4 months ago

Love what they have to say about it, it gives the picture so much more meaning

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#13
Сергей Рязанский

Тени от облаков на закате. Ну не красота ли?! 😉
//
Shadows from the clouds at sunset. It's beautiful, isn't it 😉?

7:56 AM - 18 Nov 2017

SergeyISS Report

Brandy Grote 3 months ago

God fingers!

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#14
Kjell Lindgren

Large lightning strike on Earth lights up or solar panels.

11:50 AM - 2 Sep 2015

astro_kjell Report

AzKhaleesi 4 months ago

wow!

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#15
Anne McClain

This holiday season, I find myself looking down at ‘home’ a lot. We really are all on this amazing, beautiful planet together – it truly is a small world. And when I watched the moon set over the horizon today, I once again found myself without words.

1:28 PM - 23 Dec 2018

AstroAnnimal Report

Jenny Bryl 3 months ago

beautiful.

#16
Shane Kimbrough

Good evening London from @Space_Station...!

4:17 PM - 19 Mar 2017

astro_kimbrough Report

LanteiaTG 4 months ago

There's a snek in this one.

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#17
Jack Fischer

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is watch the Aurora—it’s almost alive, as it slathers up the sky in awesome sauce😀

2:26 PM - 11 Jul 2017

Astro2fish Report

Peter Bear 4 months ago

Our planet is a living, breathing, changing thing. The oldest religions have it right; Mother Earth. Gaea. And we, her greatest children, are killing her.

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#18
Nick Hague

Moon lighting up the night sky...

4:24 PM - 8 Jul 2019

AstroHague Report

Sheri DeMaio 4 months ago

Amazing shot!

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#19
Alexander Gerst

This is what a sunset on Earth looks like from above. / So sieht ein irdischer Sonnenuntergang aus, von oben gesehen. #Horizons... #Archive...

3:30 AM - 16 May 2019

Astro_Alex Report

#20
Karen L. Nyberg

Viewed from space, Earth has a surreal vibrancy of color & texture that photographs don’t capture. It’s hard to articulate what you’re seeing & even more difficult to articulate how it makes you feel. Our home is a pretty special place.
#EarthDay #EarthDay2019... #EarthDayEveryDay...

7:44 AM - 22 Apr 2019

AstroKarenN Report

Natasha Forchione 4 months ago (edited)

Yes, it truly is and sad that most of us don't appreciate how lucky we are that we can call this home.

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#21
Tim Peake

We see 16 sunrises every day - but I've never seen one as beautiful as this. Good morning Earth!

3:44 AM - 28 Mar 2016

astro_timpeake Report

LanteiaTG 4 months ago

16 sunrises everyday... I can't even imagine. Just so beautiful.

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#22
Nick Hague

Honoring Peter Mayhew (also known as Chewbacca) up here on @Space_Station.... Thank you Peter for inspiring generations of explorers.

1:54 PM - 8 May 2019

AstroHague Report

Tahani 4 months ago

That one made me cry the first time I saw it... RIP Peter, you are missed!!

#23
Anne McClain

The dawn of a new era in human spaceflight

8:51 AM - 3 Mar 2019

AstroAnnimal Report

Podunkus 4 months ago (edited)

From the 3/3/2019 date of this photo and “new era” comment, I take it that this is showing the inaugural launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon/Falcon 9 commercial crew system?

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#24
Shane Kimbrough

Striking beauty of the Bahamas!

11:48 AM - 11 Feb 2017

astro_kimbrough Report

ispeak catanese 4 months ago (edited)

Looks like folds on a satin cloth

#25
Reid Wiseman

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10 minutes ago on the #ISS... #aurora...

4:04 PM - 19 Aug 2014

astro_reid Report

LanteiaTG 4 months ago

Looks like beautiful green ocean waves just cresting over Earth. Stunning

#26
Anne McClain

Yes buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful?

9:43 AM - 4 Mar 2019

AstroAnnimal Report

CamLy Ngo 4 months ago

It's like Kirby sucked up Earth!

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#27
Mark T. Vande Hei

Moonlight has a dramatic effect on pictures of the Earth at night. I always loved that cool silver light.

3:08 AM - 10 Dec 2017

Astro_Sabot Report

#28
Reid Wiseman

Grand Canyon #EarthArt... – never been to see it from ground level.

10:39 AM - 31 Aug 2014

astro_reid Report

lazy panda 4 months ago

The Grand Canyon on the ground is pretty cool, but your version is far more awe-inspiring.

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#29
Christina H Koch

City lights, stars, lightning storms, even satellite flares--A composite of individual photos stacked on top of each other to show all the amazing things we see at night out our window.

1:56 PM - 10 Jul 2019

Astro_Christina Report

Curious Cat 4 months ago

Scotty!! deflector sheilds !

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#30
Christina H Koch

Venus rise at sunrise, from the @Space_Station....

2:17 PM - 31 May 2019

Astro_Christina Report

Note: this post originally had 127 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.