Earth From Space

Which of these images from the European Space Agency’s Flickr stream would you consider hanging as art in your home?

An icy landscape in northern Canada almost looks like water, as seen from the International Space Station. ESA / NASA
Who lives on the side of Mount Vesuvius? Their lights can be seen on the side of the volcano, an otherwise dark spot in the middle of Naples at night. ESA / NASA
Crimson soil dominates the landscape of the Lake Eyre Basin, the lowest point in Australia. Evisat / ESA
The ghostly green glow of the Aurora Australis, as seen from the International Space Station. NASA
Vegetation, false-colored in red, crawls up the side of the Himalayas and then abruptly stops. ESA
The color in this image, of the Tanezrouft Basin in the Algerian Sahara, comes from combining images from the Envisat satellite taken on three separate days; the colors represent differences in the images. ESA
Japan’s ALOS satellite captured this image of the Gedo region of Somalia. JAXA / ESA
This southern Pacific coral island, the Niau Atoll, completely encloses the inner hypersaline turqoise lagoon. ESA

We live in an age of satellites; the skies above are full of them, usually just beyond our sight. And while we benefit plenty from the information they provide and the technologies they make possible, my favorite satellite product has to be the imagery. Many people marvel at the Hubble pictures of deep space, but my preference is for the images of Earth and especially the ones in which our planet turns into an Impressionist’s dream.

For years, the USGS has collected many of its Landsat images into “Earth as Art” collections, and now many of them are being displayed in an exhibit at the Library of Congress; you can see some here on Smithsonian.com.

But now I (and tens of thousands of others) are enjoying another collection: the European Space Agency’s Flickr stream. I’ve highlighted eight of my favorites from the Earth from Space category in the gallery below. Which ones would you consider hanging as art in your home?