Imagine looking out your window at night and seeing the lights of Paris blaze bright, while fog creeps toward London and the northern lights dance on the horizon.
Most of us regular Earthbound folks will never get such a spectacular view. But we can enjoy it second-hand, thanks to a NASA astronaut who's been sharing his dazzling photos from the International Space Station via Twitter.
Doug Wheelock, commander of the current crew on the station, tweets under the name Astro_Wheels. He shared this amazing photo of the northern lights, London and Paris at night.
"Aurora Borealis in the distance on this beautiful night over Europe," Wheelock wrote about the snapshot. "It is incredible to see the lights of the cities and small towns against the backdrop of deep space."
Wheelock also took this picture, which clearly shows Florida on a calm, clear night.
"The Florida peninsula and the southeastern U.S. on the kind of evening that I miss most about our planet," Wheelock wrote. "A clear autumn night with moonlight over the water and the sky filled with a billion stars."
In this spectacular picture, the Nile River and its delta, bejeweled with the lights of countless settlements, look like a flower bending in a slight breeze.
"A night view of the Nile River winding up through the Egyptian desert toward the Mediterranean Sea, and Cairo in the river delta," Wheelock wrote about the image. "Such a stark contrast between the dark desolate lifeless desert of northern Africa and the Nile River teeming with life along its shores."
This last photo shows the eastern reaches of the Mediterranean Sea, its shores choked with ancient cities.
"A clear starry night over the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea," Wheelock wrote. "Ancient lands with thousands of years of history stretching from Athens, Greece all the way around the Med to Cairo, Egypt."
The flow of amazing photos from Wheelock will dry up soon. He's been aboard the space station since June, and his time there is nearly up. Wheelock is scheduled to return to Earth next week, along with fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.
The trio are slated to land their Russian Soyuz TMA-19 space capsule on the central steppes of Kazakhstan on Nov. 25 ? Thanksgiving Day.
It's clear from his tweets that Wheelock has appreciated the spectacular view out his window for the last five months ? and that leaving will be painful in some ways.
"I am going to miss this view of our wonderful world," he wrote.
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