What an Astronaut’s Camera Sees (and What a Geographer Learns About Our Planet) from the ISS

Justin Wilkinson has a pretty cool sounding gig. He’s the chief geoscientist at NASA, and he learns all about planet Earth from space. When astronauts head to the International Space Station (ISS), Wilkinson asks them to snap pictures of various geographical locations. And, from this vantage point 250 miles above the planet’s surface, he learns many things — for example, he tells Slate, “there are a lot more examples of a geographical phenomenon called an inland delta or megafan—that is, deltas formed far from coastlines—than was once thought.”

Out of Wilkinson’s research comes some great pictures and videos, and today we’re featuring two clips. The first video above shows you what an astronaut sees at night, giving you an aerial tour of cities and coastlines in the Americas, the Middle East and Europe. The equally impressive video below gives you stellar shots (in daylight) of Namibia, Tunisia, Madagascar, Sicily, China, Iran, and Utah. You’ll find these videos added to our collection of Great Science Videos. Courses on astronomy can be found in our collection of Free Courses Online.  h/t @stevesilberman

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