A Mesmerizing Tour of Earth

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This mesmerizing tour of Earth, narrated by a scientist from Johnson Space Center’s Crew Earth Observations Office, offers an extraordinary view of the surface from the vantage point of an astronaut orbiting on the International Space Station.

Curious to learn more about some of the areas highlighted? Here’s a list of what, to me, at least, are eye-popping shots of some of the same places as seen by instruments aboard the many unmanned satellites that also orbit Earth.

A three-dimensional view of dunes in the Namib Desert
The four-mile Tin Bider impact crater plus a sea of dunes in Algeria
A massive dust plume blowing off the Tunisian coast 
Madagascar with Tropical Storm Manou slamming its eastern coast 
A volcanic ash cloud streaming from Sicily’s Mount Etna
A series of eruptions from snow-covered Kamchatka Peninsula
Eastern China blanketed by haze
The greening of an alluvial fan in Iran
A chain of Australian islands as seen by Landsat
Hurricane Florence swirling in the Atlantic
The divided waters of the Great Salt Lake colored by algae
The Missouri River spilling over its banks
The confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers
Big Bend’s complex geological history
Shallow waters encircling the reefs of the Bahamas
The Andes pockmarked with stratovolcanoes
Thunderstorms forming over Brazil
The source of the Amazon River


Text by Adam Voiland. Imagery published originally by the Earth Observatory