Changing Planet

NASA Shutdown Unleashes Beautiful Astronaut Photos on Twitter

US astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this striking photo of storm clouds above Ghana  as seen from the International Space Station.on October 8, 2013. Credit: Karen Nyberg/NASA

Despite the two-week old  government shutdown and NASA’s official online presence going completely dark, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have still been tweeting away and sharing some pretty spectacular snapshots.

During the shutdown, NASA has kept Mission Control lights on at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, making sure that all communication lines are kept open with the international orbiting laboratory and that its six crew members are kept safe.  U.S. ISS astronauts Karen Nyberg  (@AstroKarenN) and Mike Hopkins (@AstroIllini) have kept mum on the government shenanigans, but it obviously hasn’t stopped them from sharing some breath-taking views from orbit.  Here’s just a select few cosmic portraits that caught our eye.

Hopkins managed to capture a blast of green auroras from a unique perspective about a week ago.


A day after, looking out the porthole Hopkins saw this bizarre cloud formation that turned out to be from a missile launch by Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces


From nearly 400 kilometers in altitude very distinctive human-made structures can be made out, like in Dubai.

The southernmost tip of the African continent with the Atlantic Ocean above and Indian Ocean below.


Clouds speckle the skies above a sparkling inlet along the western coast of India that leads into the Arabian Sea.



Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.

    An incrdible amazing pictures. love them.

  • nishikant vijay ghag

    thnx a lot bcos of u we easily see our earth n loves it
    the pics are adorable really


    i can,t Comment this images haw can capture

  • giovanni mendoza

    This has been my long delayed & unaswered question? How come almost all pictures above the earth & space dont have the sunlight and the uv rays? It is always dark or nightime in the photos????? Thank you!

  • yoram israel

    the most artist beautiful photoes ..all arownd…in the hardest places of the world….outside too…best proffetional people that are involved…the difficult this days when so many people makes photoes today..and sent all over….
    im an artist…best in oil painting …dream i could sent you a photo of my, for publish…promise not to harm the level of yours…i think so many people arownd the world..have to thank you…yv bring the amaizing world to their many years! i thnk y! yoram israel.

  • George Kaburia

    Wonderful and breathtaking photos. I wonder how it feels to be up there.

  • George Kaburia

    wonderful and amazing photos. I wonder how it feels when up there. That bizarre cloud formation from Russian missile launch is testimony that our activities have a major impact on our atmosphere. This is what contributes to global warming

  • Josh

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • Mary McNamara

    WOW 😉

  • Sara Levin

    Gorgeous. What a heavenly sight.

  • viviana

    simplemente hermosa nuestra madre tierra !!!!

  • Rene Borsei

    I love these photos. You guys are absolutely amazing and your shots even 100x too. Keep snapping and sharing, truly beautiful

  • luiz antonio bartimarchi

    Magníficas fotos do nosso Planeta..

  • Christel Price

    At 70 years of age,Space travel won’t be a possibility for me.So the next best thing is to see these pictures you younger generations post.Please keep them coming. I so envy you these times.

  • Mary Ann Pedraza

    i love the photos that’s why i really wanted to be an astronaut

  • Linda Mixdorf

    I went out the other morning to watch the ISS fly over Iowa. It was a spectacular 3 minutes!

  • Jeff Cheam

    Beautiful, spectacular snapshots of earth from space one never hopes to see in a life time!

  • maureen

    Words cannot express how much I LOVE following the ISS Astronauts. These past few weeks with the shutdown have been almost unbearable. My 92 year old mother who has dementia enjoys the NASA channel and will watch it for hours on end. Please hurry back!!!!

  • sarah


  • elizabeth chamberlain

    Wow ,stunning photographs could look at them all day

  • eve

    These pictures stop my heart–truly captivating. What an amazing experience to share with us. Thank you.

  • Eleanor Fouchey

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing there pics with all of us.

  • Ramoncito A. Mendoza

    If only the same beauty from up there could be translated / passed on to inside the earth’s atmosphere. Peace. Really, let’s have peace, it’s just such a beautiful thing to have.

  • Thomas

    The Greater Community of Life in the Universe, humanity’s next great threshold of development and awareness, is both awe inspiring and sobering. Yet, it is the environment in which we have always existed.

  • Donna McGhie-Richmond

    Out of this world!

  • jc viar

    Awesome photos, i wish i could see those view in person.

  • Tsokonombwe Phiri

    Thats really amazing. Ilove the pictures. Please keep updating us.

  • Arvind


  • Russell Sticklor

    Just incredible.

  • Rachel Paul

    Wish I could be in space too!

  • Khalid

    It is the proof of existing of God.

  • Paridhi


  • Annisa

    Our planet looks absolutely beautiful, love it!

  • Bill

    I seem to remember that nasa tv had a live feed on TV from the space shuttles so I looked around and see that there is a livestream from the ISS

    Anyone know any others?

  • tasnia

    i wish i could see then on my own……please pour some more..i can spend hours watching and wondering about this beautiful planet…thanks the guys with the cameras and passion always..

  • Meredith

    These pictures are so amazing!!!!!! seeing that kind of stuff on a regular basis must be SOOO cooooolll!!! And am I the only one who’s shocked that there’s wifi for Twitter in space? No? ok…

  • Ana B.C. von Battenberg


  • Iqra Iqbal

    It’s Aweosomeeeeee Pics.<3..Well done…

  • jim henderson

    These photos unite the people of Earth in Peace!

  • Victoria

    Loved all of those pictures. Even with the shut down I didn’t miss a single opportunity to watch the ISS go over our area. Was glad the sighting dates were posted well in advance.

  • Abigail Garay

    Oh, so gorgeous but I could see more if I were taken up.
    Could I?

  • Joanna

    We are truly a fortunate generation to be able to see such beautiful and awe inspiring images.

  • K WInter

    I love looking at where everyone commenting here is from, almost as much as I love the photos themselves. Seeing our gorgeous planet from space truly makes us all one people. And that is the most precious gift space flight can give us.

  • GruposDoce

    Nice, very nice

  • Twinkle

    Truly beautiful pictures:)



  • Singh

    really increideble como el cielo tapa la tierra

  • Alaa Ahmed

    what agreat hevan

  • Linda Lawson

    Like many have said I could look at these pictures all day. Absolutely the most beautiful ever.


    Nat Geo,I take my hat off to you,it would pleasing if you produced more Photographs of this nature.Excellent Photo’s.

  • david arbuthnott

    brilliant photos, brings back memories of early morning t.v. when you were able to look down at earth as the satellite went on its orbit.

  • Asper

    Double AA grade!!!
    Amazingly Awesome!!!

  • Chaminda Liyanage

    It’s really very interesting photos that you gave us.I personally congratulate for your adventurous task and hopping to see more fantastic photos in advance…………

  • Zia

    We have to praise the Dedication and continuous seen and unseen efforts by this Team , that brings us this unbelievable Nature , , , Congratulations all

  • Javier Padilla Acero

    I dream to travel to space since Gagarin’s flight… These photos make my day.

  • Serol

    Spectacular, how tiny can we feel.

  • mina gholami

    really words fail me! thanx for awesome pics

  • Deyo Watson

    words can not do justice to the beauty of the pictures. One could easily cry for happy. Thank you so very much.

  • Antoinette Amegbletor

    Spectacular space photo series!! Thanks for sharing, love them all.

  • Rafael

    Wow! these pictures are Superb! I really enjoy every detail, each angle it is a poem of beauty and splendor!
    thank you.

  • Paulo Rattes – Brasil

    Lindas fotos!!!

  • Armei Sales

    Wish I can be an astronaut so that I can take awesome pics from space also!

  • tolayskie

    Awesome photo, so mesmerizing cannot finds words to describe it fully. So much beauty.

  • Hartmut Jager


  • Gaetan

    Amazing pics of our fab world..

  • Shane C

    Spectacular pictures and much appreciated to have witnessed these photos. I should have been an astronaut as all I did mostly in school was take up space. Ha Ha Thanks again for the pics

  • Asad Naeem


  • William C. Dwyer

    A pity we prefer to waste so much of our money on warfare. I would rather we devote more funding to our space program instead. At least it offers some hope for the future…fighting in Iraq doesn’t.

  • sutardjo

    superb photo shoot….

  • fitzy Spencer

    Truly beautiful this makes me think of (How great God is)

  • Bles de Klerk

    ….. and then somewhere in South Africa there is a guy named Bles and he thinks he is great – poor guy!!

  • Arief Rahardjo

    Wow.. I love sky photography. I shoot only when I travel using airplane. These photos are amazing. I just wonder what kind of gear those astronaut use ? I am waiting for Borobudur temple and other Indonesia island from above.Thanks for sharing.

  • aj

    Every human being deserves this experience alongside a lifetime of spiritual existence to recognize ourselves as ‘Earthlings’.
    Fractals come to mind when you look at ‘Storm clouds above Ghana’ (the first picture)
    Everything is related and connected…here, there, everywhere

  • Carol Young

    What wonderful shots, the Northern Lights were breathtaking, and made me miss Alaska, that was one of our favorite things. I wish I could have been there in space, incredible!

  • Mansour Bayat

    It is so wonderful and fascinating pictures that I have ever seen. I wonder how it feels when there.
    Please keep updating us.

  • Paul

    We should send all the politicians and religion leaders up there to see what God gave us and we destroying..

  • Nasir

    Awesome. God you are great!

  • Tina

    Such beautiful photos. I’m sure to see these things from outerspace must be truly spiritual.

  • juanjo mateu

    Son impresionantes estas maravillosas imágenes, quién pudiera estar ahí arriba para verlo con tus propios ojos, solo espero que esta belleza de planeta no sea destruído por la vorágine del ser humano, capaz de los mayores avances científicos y evolutivos y de los más aberrantes destrucciones del ecosistema planetario, CREO QUE ESTAS Y OTRAS IMAGENES DEBEN DE “ABRIR CONCIENCIAS” PARA CUIDAR NUESTRO BELLO PLANETA AZUL, es el único hogar que tenemos y parece que no lo cuidamos…

  • Jovana T.

    Breathtaking. I really envy those guys.

  • Mark Daly

    Great pictures….. Pity that we are so intent on destroying our beautiful living quarters.

  • nancy

    Such a different perspective, to be able to see the thin line of what is above and below. Pictures are astounding.

  • Tim

    English translation of uanjo mateu comments.

    These beautiful images are impressive, who could be up there to see it with your own eyes, just hope that this beautiful planet is not destroyed by the abyss of the human being, capable of the greatest scientific and evolutionary progress and the most heinous destruction of the planetary ecosystem, I think that these and other images should “Open minds” to care for our beautiful blue planetIt is the only home we have, it seems we don’t care…

  • Jose

    Awesome pictures. Most of us will never get to see these sights first-hand and so we are grateful to those who with courage, curiosity and yearning to know more push the frontiers of discovery on behalf of all of us, and in doing so give us these amazing glimpses of a wonderfully beautiful world, one we take for granted and disrespect so much. It may sound cliche but we should remember that the world is not something we will leave for our children but instead something we are only borrowing from them and must return in good form. Earth: how wonderful our little corner of the Universe, this one we call home.

  • Terri

    Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful images with us. Our God is truly amazing! Be safe! God speed!

  • Rosalie E. Lula

    Pretty awesome, I hope you post more photos like that.

  • Pari

    O my God! these are just awesome.

  • Hannah

    Those photos were amazing! Thank you God for blessing us with such a magnificent world!

  • Austin Maambo

    I love the Nat.Geog.
    It draws me closer to God’s handy work.
    I have learnt many sweet lessons from Nat.Geo activities,
    I have seen amazing courage of men and women in adrenal evoking moves as they interact with nature.
    Indeed we are God”s children enjoying discoveries
    in a portion of his yard.

  • Mauricio ARAUJO

    Solo desde esta perspectiva, que gracias a la tenologia pdemos tenerla, nos damos cuenta de la necesidad de elevar nuestro nivel de conciencia hacia un plano superior, pido a NG envie las fotografias hacia los gobiernos del mundo, espero en la gran mayoria de lideres politicos hayan motivado sentimientos con la naturaleza y con la espiritualidad, premisas que alinean gobiernos comprometidos con la unica verdad: LA VIDA don y oportunidad suprema entregada por el Altisimo.


    I wish the comments are appropriate if only relate to that these are to be viewed and appreciated as they exist and appear. Attributing earthly spiritual and social notions to their being there or their formations are beyond explanations in the reach of mankind . Enjoy and appreciate but do not conclude what they represent, why there or who is behind them.

  • Aswath

    Its just like being there and looking over. Amazing pictures.

  • Gary Bridger

    Reading the above, yes very nice, thank you our creator for letting us live upon the wonderful planet. Just hope soon you will come and stop all the war and distruction of wild life and nature. As I keep trying. But I get no where. They still pollute /tip rubbish,throw fag ends, Develop unnecessary concrete, And its all killing the Oceans. Please come and stop man from unbalancing what to so long to be.

  • hassan

    How/what ever put such great viewes out there must really love mankind

  • D.HILL

    The awesomeness of GOD!

  • gulzer hossain

    this picture is really beautiful.i always like space picture.thanks to you.

  • Mushtaq Ahmed

    End less beauty, Sovanallaha, what a creation of God !!!

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