Pale Blue Dot, Beautiful Planet: The Best Astronaut Images of Earth from 2017

A new video from NASA features the very best photographs of Earth taken by astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017.

Among the featured images are snapshots of a brilliant green-and-purple aurora borealis display over Canada; the red, vein-like tributaries of the Betsiboka Estuary in Madagascar; and a glittering web of lights created by large cities like London and Naples, Italy.

The winning images were selected by scientists in the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. You can see the photos in our full gallery here.

Observations of Earth from space go beyond their aesthetic value. In 2017, cameras on the ISS, along with various Earth-observing satellites, helped monitor a slew of major stormsthat pummeled through the Atlantic Ocean and aidedin recovery effortsfor regions affected by those storms. Images from Earth-observing satellites also helped emergency organizationsmonitor wildfires in California.

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Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter