An External High-Definition Camera (EHDC) mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station captured this photograph of Mount Etna on Italy’s island of Sicily. The region of Calabria, also known as the “toe” of Italy’s boot, is also visible.
The photo was taken as the space station orbited over the Black Sea approximately 1448 kilometers (900 miles) from Mount Etna, as measured from the point on sea surface directly below the station. This oblique view through the atmosphere, together with thin cloud cover, makes the coastlines look hazy and less distinct compared with images acquired when the station is directly overhead. Photos such as this one display less clarity of many surface features, but they offer a unique view of topographic highs such as Mount Etna.
Mount Etna is considered to be the most active volcano on the European continent. The stratovolcano persistently emits volcanic gases through passive degassing. This photo shows a small plume rising from Etna and moving towards the southeast (left in this view). While this image was taken in March 2023 during a non-eruptive period, Mount Etna explosively erupted as recently as August 2023.
ISS External High-Definition Camera (EHDC) photograph ISS069-E-127 was acquired on March 30, 2023, with a D4 Electronic Still Camera using a focal length of 500 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by an externally mounted camera on the ISS during Expedition 69. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Amber Turner, Jacobs JETS II Contract at NASA-JSC.