A thin green line of the aurora borealis (northern lights) crosses the top of this photograph, taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station. The moon appears as a white disc just above the aurora. Airglow appears as a blue-white cusp along the Earth’s limb. Russia’s capital city, Moscow, makes a splash of yellow light and is easily recognized by the radial pattern of its highways. Other cities are Nizhni Novgorod (400 kilometers from Moscow), Saint Petersburg (625 kilometers away), and Finland’s capital city Helsinki.
Astronaut photograph ISS039-E-9160 was acquired on April 2, 2014, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 31 millimeter lens, and 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 the Expedition 39 crew. It 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 M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs at NASA-JSC.