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NASA Shutdown Unleashes Beautiful Astronaut Photos on Twitter

US astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this striking photo of storm clouds above Ghana on October 8, 2013. Credit: Karen Nyberg/NASA
US astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this striking photo of storm clouds above Ghana  as seen from the International Space Station.on October 8, 2013. Credit: Karen Nyberg/NASA

Despite the two-week old  government shutdown and NASA’s official online presence going completely dark, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have still been tweeting away and sharing some pretty spectacular snapshots.

During the shutdown, NASA has kept Mission Control lights on at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, making sure that all communication lines are kept open with the international orbiting laboratory and that its six crew members are kept safe.  U.S. ISS astronauts Karen Nyberg  (@AstroKarenN) and Mike Hopkins (@AstroIllini) have kept mum on the government shenanigans, but it obviously hasn’t stopped them from sharing some breath-taking views from orbit.  Here’s just a select few cosmic portraits that caught our eye.

Hopkins managed to capture a blast of green auroras from a unique perspective about a week ago.


A day after, looking out the porthole Hopkins saw this bizarre cloud formation that turned out to be from a missile launch by Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces


From nearly 400 kilometers in altitude very distinctive human-made structures can be made out, like in Dubai.

The southernmost tip of the African continent with the Atlantic Ocean above and Indian Ocean below.


Clouds speckle the skies above a sparkling inlet along the western coast of India that leads into the Arabian Sea.



Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Mushtaq Ahmed
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    November 14, 2013, 10:32 pm

    End less beauty, Sovanallaha, what a creation of God !!!

  2. gulzer hossain
    November 11, 2013, 10:34 pm

    this picture is really beautiful.i always like space picture.thanks to you.

  3. D.HILL
    November 7, 2013, 4:33 pm

    The awesomeness of GOD!

  4. hassan
    November 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

    How/what ever put such great viewes out there must really love mankind

  5. Gary Bridger
    November 6, 2013, 1:52 pm

    Reading the above, yes very nice, thank you our creator for letting us live upon the wonderful planet. Just hope soon you will come and stop all the war and distruction of wild life and nature. As I keep trying. But I get no where. They still pollute /tip rubbish,throw fag ends, Develop unnecessary concrete, And its all killing the Oceans. Please come and stop man from unbalancing what to so long to be.

  6. Aswath
    November 5, 2013, 4:47 am

    Its just like being there and looking over. Amazing pictures.

    November 4, 2013, 12:52 pm

    I wish the comments are appropriate if only relate to that these are to be viewed and appreciated as they exist and appear. Attributing earthly spiritual and social notions to their being there or their formations are beyond explanations in the reach of mankind . Enjoy and appreciate but do not conclude what they represent, why there or who is behind them.

  8. Mauricio ARAUJO
    Quito - Ecuador
    November 4, 2013, 5:24 am

    Solo desde esta perspectiva, que gracias a la tenologia pdemos tenerla, nos damos cuenta de la necesidad de elevar nuestro nivel de conciencia hacia un plano superior, pido a NG envie las fotografias hacia los gobiernos del mundo, espero en la gran mayoria de lideres politicos hayan motivado sentimientos con la naturaleza y con la espiritualidad, premisas que alinean gobiernos comprometidos con la unica verdad: LA VIDA don y oportunidad suprema entregada por el Altisimo.

  9. Austin Maambo
    November 4, 2013, 3:16 am

    I love the Nat.Geog.
    It draws me closer to God’s handy work.
    I have learnt many sweet lessons from Nat.Geo activities,
    I have seen amazing courage of men and women in adrenal evoking moves as they interact with nature.
    Indeed we are God”s children enjoying discoveries
    in a portion of his yard.

  10. Hannah
    November 4, 2013, 1:30 am

    Those photos were amazing! Thank you God for blessing us with such a magnificent world!

  11. Pari
    November 3, 2013, 8:04 am

    O my God! these are just awesome.

  12. Rosalie E. Lula
    November 3, 2013, 1:19 am

    Pretty awesome, I hope you post more photos like that.

  13. Terri
    November 2, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful images with us. Our God is truly amazing! Be safe! God speed!

  14. Jose
    November 2, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Awesome pictures. Most of us will never get to see these sights first-hand and so we are grateful to those who with courage, curiosity and yearning to know more push the frontiers of discovery on behalf of all of us, and in doing so give us these amazing glimpses of a wonderfully beautiful world, one we take for granted and disrespect so much. It may sound cliche but we should remember that the world is not something we will leave for our children but instead something we are only borrowing from them and must return in good form. Earth: how wonderful our little corner of the Universe, this one we call home.

  15. Tim
    Third planet from the Sun
    November 2, 2013, 11:25 am

    English translation of uanjo mateu comments.

    These beautiful images are impressive, who could be up there to see it with your own eyes, just hope that this beautiful planet is not destroyed by the abyss of the human being, capable of the greatest scientific and evolutionary progress and the most heinous destruction of the planetary ecosystem, I think that these and other images should “Open minds” to care for our beautiful blue planetIt is the only home we have, it seems we don’t care…

  16. nancy
    new york
    November 2, 2013, 9:11 am

    Such a different perspective, to be able to see the thin line of what is above and below. Pictures are astounding.

  17. Mark Daly
    Galway, Ireland
    November 2, 2013, 6:45 am

    Great pictures….. Pity that we are so intent on destroying our beautiful living quarters.

  18. Jovana T.
    November 1, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Breathtaking. I really envy those guys.

  19. juanjo mateu
    November 1, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Son impresionantes estas maravillosas imágenes, quién pudiera estar ahí arriba para verlo con tus propios ojos, solo espero que esta belleza de planeta no sea destruído por la vorágine del ser humano, capaz de los mayores avances científicos y evolutivos y de los más aberrantes destrucciones del ecosistema planetario, CREO QUE ESTAS Y OTRAS IMAGENES DEBEN DE “ABRIR CONCIENCIAS” PARA CUIDAR NUESTRO BELLO PLANETA AZUL, es el único hogar que tenemos y parece que no lo cuidamos…

  20. Tina
    November 1, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Such beautiful photos. I’m sure to see these things from outerspace must be truly spiritual.

  21. Nasir
    Kuala Lumpur
    November 1, 2013, 11:22 am

    Awesome. God you are great!

  22. Paul
    Windsor On. Canada
    November 1, 2013, 10:20 am

    We should send all the politicians and religion leaders up there to see what God gave us and we destroying..

  23. Mansour Bayat
    Tehran, Iran
    November 1, 2013, 9:37 am

    It is so wonderful and fascinating pictures that I have ever seen. I wonder how it feels when there.
    Please keep updating us.

  24. Carol Young
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    November 1, 2013, 7:04 am

    What wonderful shots, the Northern Lights were breathtaking, and made me miss Alaska, that was one of our favorite things. I wish I could have been there in space, incredible!

  25. aj
    November 1, 2013, 4:59 am

    Every human being deserves this experience alongside a lifetime of spiritual existence to recognize ourselves as ‘Earthlings’.
    Fractals come to mind when you look at ‘Storm clouds above Ghana’ (the first picture)
    Everything is related and connected…here, there, everywhere

  26. Arief Rahardjo
    November 1, 2013, 4:28 am

    Wow.. I love sky photography. I shoot only when I travel using airplane. These photos are amazing. I just wonder what kind of gear those astronaut use ? I am waiting for Borobudur temple and other Indonesia island from above.Thanks for sharing.

  27. Bles de Klerk
    South Africa
    November 1, 2013, 4:00 am

    ….. and then somewhere in South Africa there is a guy named Bles and he thinks he is great – poor guy!!

  28. fitzy Spencer
    Trinidad & Tobago
    November 1, 2013, 3:12 am

    Truly beautiful this makes me think of (How great God is)

  29. sutardjo
    November 1, 2013, 2:44 am

    superb photo shoot….

  30. William C. Dwyer
    Bangkok, Thailand
    November 1, 2013, 2:12 am

    A pity we prefer to waste so much of our money on warfare. I would rather we devote more funding to our space program instead. At least it offers some hope for the future…fighting in Iraq doesn’t.

  31. Asad Naeem
    Lahore, Pakistan
    November 1, 2013, 1:09 am


  32. Shane C
    Alberta, Canada
    November 1, 2013, 12:22 am

    Spectacular pictures and much appreciated to have witnessed these photos. I should have been an astronaut as all I did mostly in school was take up space. Ha Ha Thanks again for the pics

  33. Gaetan
    November 1, 2013, 12:03 am

    Amazing pics of our fab world..

  34. Hartmut Jager
    October 31, 2013, 11:49 pm


  35. tolayskie
    October 31, 2013, 10:32 pm

    Awesome photo, so mesmerizing cannot finds words to describe it fully. So much beauty.

  36. Armei Sales
    October 31, 2013, 10:03 pm

    Wish I can be an astronaut so that I can take awesome pics from space also!

  37. Paulo Rattes - Brasil
    October 31, 2013, 7:59 pm

    Lindas fotos!!!

  38. Rafael
    October 31, 2013, 7:52 pm

    Wow! these pictures are Superb! I really enjoy every detail, each angle it is a poem of beauty and splendor!
    thank you.

  39. Gardell Sanford
    Harper Woods, Michigan
    October 31, 2013, 7:50 pm


  40. Antoinette Amegbletor
    October 31, 2013, 6:35 pm

    Spectacular space photo series!! Thanks for sharing, love them all.

  41. Gus Gutierrez
    Medellin, Colombia
    October 31, 2013, 5:11 pm


  42. Deyo Watson
    October 31, 2013, 3:20 pm

    words can not do justice to the beauty of the pictures. One could easily cry for happy. Thank you so very much.

  43. mina gholami
    October 31, 2013, 3:01 pm

    really words fail me! thanx for awesome pics

  44. Serol
    Lima, Perú
    October 31, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Spectacular, how tiny can we feel.

  45. Javier Padilla Acero
    Colima, Col. Mexico.
    October 31, 2013, 2:32 pm

    I dream to travel to space since Gagarin’s flight… These photos make my day.

  46. Zia
    Guelph ON Canada
    October 31, 2013, 2:09 pm

    We have to praise the Dedication and continuous seen and unseen efforts by this Team , that brings us this unbelievable Nature , , , Congratulations all

  47. Chaminda Liyanage
    October 31, 2013, 2:05 pm

    It’s really very interesting photos that you gave us.I personally congratulate for your adventurous task and hopping to see more fantastic photos in advance…………

  48. Asper
    October 31, 2013, 1:58 pm

    Double AA grade!!!
    Amazingly Awesome!!!

  49. david arbuthnott
    October 31, 2013, 1:28 pm

    brilliant photos, brings back memories of early morning t.v. when you were able to look down at earth as the satellite went on its orbit.

    Trinidad and Tobago
    October 31, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Nat Geo,I take my hat off to you,it would pleasing if you produced more Photographs of this nature.Excellent Photo’s.

  51. Linda Lawson
    Emmett Idaho, USA
    October 31, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Like many have said I could look at these pictures all day. Absolutely the most beautiful ever.

  52. Alaa Ahmed
    October 22, 2013, 6:35 am

    what agreat hevan

  53. Singh
    October 21, 2013, 12:05 pm

    really increideble como el cielo tapa la tierra

    October 21, 2013, 9:45 am


  55. Twinkle
    October 21, 2013, 2:29 am

    Truly beautiful pictures:)

  56. GruposDoce
    Palma de Mallorca
    October 20, 2013, 11:28 pm

    Nice, very nice

  57. K WInter
    Toronto, On. Canada
    October 20, 2013, 7:41 pm

    I love looking at where everyone commenting here is from, almost as much as I love the photos themselves. Seeing our gorgeous planet from space truly makes us all one people. And that is the most precious gift space flight can give us.

  58. Joanna
    Hamilton Ontario Canada
    October 20, 2013, 4:29 pm

    We are truly a fortunate generation to be able to see such beautiful and awe inspiring images.

  59. Abigail Garay
    Miami, Florida United States
    October 20, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Oh, so gorgeous but I could see more if I were taken up.
    Could I?

  60. Victoria
    United States, California
    October 20, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Loved all of those pictures. Even with the shut down I didn’t miss a single opportunity to watch the ISS go over our area. Was glad the sighting dates were posted well in advance.

  61. jim henderson
    Syracuse NY
    October 20, 2013, 9:33 am

    These photos unite the people of Earth in Peace!

  62. Iqra Iqbal
    October 20, 2013, 12:56 am

    It’s Aweosomeeeeee Pics.<3..Well done…

  63. Ana B.C. von Battenberg
    October 19, 2013, 8:25 pm


  64. Meredith
    America (as in the United States of. hehehe)
    October 19, 2013, 10:22 am

    These pictures are so amazing!!!!!! seeing that kind of stuff on a regular basis must be SOOO cooooolll!!! And am I the only one who’s shocked that there’s wifi for Twitter in space? No? ok…

  65. tasnia
    October 19, 2013, 12:16 am

    i wish i could see then on my own……please pour some more..i can spend hours watching and wondering about this beautiful planet…thanks the guys with the cameras and passion always..

  66. Bill
    Calgary Canada
    October 18, 2013, 7:57 pm

    I seem to remember that nasa tv had a live feed on TV from the space shuttles so I looked around and see that there is a livestream from the ISS http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-iss-stream

    Anyone know any others?

  67. Annisa
    United Kingdom
    October 18, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Our planet looks absolutely beautiful, love it!

  68. Paridhi
    October 18, 2013, 3:41 pm


  69. Khalid
    October 18, 2013, 1:07 pm

    It is the proof of existing of God.

  70. Rachel Paul
    October 18, 2013, 10:47 am

    Wish I could be in space too!

  71. Russell Sticklor
    Monterrey, Mexico
    October 18, 2013, 8:20 am

    Just incredible.

  72. Arvind
    October 18, 2013, 7:05 am


  73. Tsokonombwe Phiri
    Chipata, Zambia
    October 18, 2013, 5:08 am

    Thats really amazing. Ilove the pictures. Please keep updating us.

  74. jc viar
    October 18, 2013, 12:55 am

    Awesome photos, i wish i could see those view in person.

  75. Donna McGhie-Richmond
    October 17, 2013, 10:06 pm

    Out of this world!

  76. Thomas
    Boulder, CO
    October 17, 2013, 9:59 pm

    The Greater Community of Life in the Universe, humanity’s next great threshold of development and awareness, is both awe inspiring and sobering. Yet, it is the environment in which we have always existed. http://www.newmessage.org/facing-a-greater-community-of-life

  77. Ramoncito A. Mendoza
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    October 17, 2013, 9:33 pm

    If only the same beauty from up there could be translated / passed on to inside the earth’s atmosphere. Peace. Really, let’s have peace, it’s just such a beautiful thing to have.

  78. Eleanor Fouchey
    Florence S. Carolina 29501
    October 17, 2013, 7:56 pm

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing there pics with all of us.

  79. eve
    orlando, fl
    October 17, 2013, 4:44 pm

    These pictures stop my heart–truly captivating. What an amazing experience to share with us. Thank you.

  80. elizabeth chamberlain
    exmouth devon u.k
    October 17, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Wow ,stunning photographs could look at them all day

  81. sarah
    Andalucia Spain
    October 17, 2013, 12:23 pm


  82. maureen
    October 17, 2013, 10:54 am

    Words cannot express how much I LOVE following the ISS Astronauts. These past few weeks with the shutdown have been almost unbearable. My 92 year old mother who has dementia enjoys the NASA channel and will watch it for hours on end. Please hurry back!!!!

  83. Jeff Cheam
    West Malaysia
    October 17, 2013, 10:43 am

    Beautiful, spectacular snapshots of earth from space one never hopes to see in a life time!

  84. Linda Mixdorf
    October 17, 2013, 10:14 am

    I went out the other morning to watch the ISS fly over Iowa. It was a spectacular 3 minutes!

  85. Mary Ann Pedraza
    October 17, 2013, 10:05 am

    i love the photos that’s why i really wanted to be an astronaut

  86. Christel Price
    Penetanguishene,Ontario Canada
    October 17, 2013, 8:55 am

    At 70 years of age,Space travel won’t be a possibility for me.So the next best thing is to see these pictures you younger generations post.Please keep them coming. I so envy you these times.

  87. luiz antonio bartimarchi
    guarulhos / são paulo / brasil
    October 17, 2013, 8:52 am

    Magníficas fotos do nosso Planeta..

  88. Rene Borsei
    South Africa
    October 17, 2013, 8:14 am

    I love these photos. You guys are absolutely amazing and your shots even 100x too. Keep snapping and sharing, truly beautiful

  89. viviana
    October 17, 2013, 7:58 am

    simplemente hermosa nuestra madre tierra !!!!

  90. Sara Levin
    October 17, 2013, 7:32 am

    Gorgeous. What a heavenly sight.

  91. Mary McNamara
    United States
    October 17, 2013, 6:44 am

    WOW 😉

  92. Josh
    United States
    October 17, 2013, 6:29 am

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  93. George Kaburia
    October 17, 2013, 5:21 am

    wonderful and amazing photos. I wonder how it feels when up there. That bizarre cloud formation from Russian missile launch is testimony that our activities have a major impact on our atmosphere. This is what contributes to global warming

  94. George Kaburia
    October 17, 2013, 5:18 am

    Wonderful and breathtaking photos. I wonder how it feels to be up there.

  95. yoram israel
    Haifa Israel
    October 17, 2013, 4:02 am

    the most artist beautiful photoes ..all arownd…in the hardest places of the world….outside too…best proffetional people that are involved…the difficult this days when so many people makes photoes today..and sent all over….
    im an artist…best in oil painting …dream i could sent you a photo of my, for publish…promise not to harm the level of yours…i think so many people arownd the world..have to thank you…yv bring the amaizing world to their home..so many years! i thnk y! yoram israel.

  96. giovanni mendoza
    October 17, 2013, 3:56 am

    This has been my long delayed & unaswered question? How come almost all pictures above the earth & space dont have the sunlight and the uv rays? It is always dark or nightime in the photos????? Thank you!

    October 17, 2013, 3:18 am

    i can,t Comment this images haw can capture

  98. nishikant vijay ghag
    mumbai (virar)
    October 17, 2013, 1:59 am

    thnx a lot bcos of u we easily see our earth n loves it
    the pics are adorable really

    October 16, 2013, 11:10 pm

    An incrdible amazing pictures. love them.