The recent landing of Curiosity on Mars has brought renewed interest in space. While space is always a fascinating subject, seeing images from this fascinating landing on another planet has done wonders, and definitely helped pique everyone’s curiosity (pun not intended).
As interesting as space and other planets are, there’s something even more interesting around us – Earth. Combine space and Earth, and you can get a multitude of amazing views of Earth shot from – you guessed it – space. You can spend literally hours staring at these out-of-the-world pictures, if you only know where to look. Read on to find some great sources for such images, that will remind you what a beautiful planet we all live on.
Obviously, the first go-to source for space images is NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which provides several channels in which you can find beautiful photos of Earth. The Earth Observatory provides a limited number of images, which you can browse by category and then by its location on a world map.
Visible Earth is a larger NASA catalog of satellite images, browsable by collection or topic, which features many images from wildfires and storms, among others. Another great NASA collection is The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, featuring the best Earth photographs taken by astronauts. Click “Find Photos” to look for photos from specific locations, or browse collections such as Volcanoes, Capital Cities, and more.
Similar to the famous Google Earth, Flash Earth is a Flash engine for satellite exploration of Earth, powered by either Bing or Yahoo maps (you can choose which one you prefer). Although it’s powered by Flash, Flash Earth is a very fast engine and works smoothly both in full-screen or a browser window. You can browse around by dragging and zooming in and out, or search for a specific place by keyword. You get coordinates for every point on the map, which you can also get a permanent link for – great for sharing.
This is a Smithsonian website aimed at accompanying a real travelling exhibition, but can definitely be experienced on its own with great pleasure. Choose between the different topics, as seen in the screenshot, and then browse through the different available images. Each image can be smoothly zoomed in and out, and comes complete with a short explanation and its location on a world map.
Views of the Earth doesn’t provide real images, but rather rendered ones. Even so, it’s a great source for amazing images you might not find in such quality when searching for real ones. You can browse Views of the Earth by region or theme, view random images, or browse the full list of views. Each image comes complete with coordinates, altitude, camera angle and an exact pinpoint on a world map. There is even a user rating system which you can use to rate every image from 1 to 5, and see an average rating for each image.
With its very simple interface, Space Images provides one of the most fascinating collections I’ve seen while writing this post. Choose from photos of the entire Earth, hurricane photos, or geography/city photos, and find yourself immersed in a different world. You can buy each image you find as a print, which means the actual images on the website are not very large, but its still worth a long visit.
Various Image Collections
Since there are many images of Earth from space going around, someone has to do the hard job of finding the best ones. You can find many such collections on the Web, each made by a different website or publications. Here are some great collections you can browse for instant space satisfaction:
ISS Envy – Love These Pics: 34 images and 2 videos taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
Earth from Space – Environmental Graffiti: 24 images of different climate zones and continents taken from space.
Earth from Space – Green Planet: A terrific full-screen slideshow of unique places and events on Earth, as seen from space.
There are a huge number of satellites orbiting the Earth, most of which provide a constant feed of images. Each satellite provides images from its location at the moment, which means you can find images of many different areas. There is a good list of these websites on Living Earth. So get clicking and find the one that interests you most!
Do you know of great sources of views of Earth from space we missed? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credit: Earth from Space image via Shuttertock
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