We’ve seen some great views from space of erupting volcanoes, like Pavlov, Shiveluch, and Nabro. While most of the views from space look straight down in a in a nadir view, this photo was taken from the International Space Station with an oblique or sideways viewing angle. This provides a three-dimensional-type view, similar to what might be seen from an airplane instead of a flattened view that looks straight down. This image was taken by an astronaut when the ISS was located over a ground position more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) to the southwest of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far eastern part of Russia. The Kliuchevskoi volcano is just one of 160 volcanoes in this region, with 29 of the 160 being active.
NASA says the plume—likely a combination of steam, volcanic gases, and ash—stretched to the east-southeast due to prevailing winds. The dark region to the north-northwest is likely a product of shadows and of ash settling out. Several other volcanoes are visible in the image, including Ushkovsky, Tolbachik, Zimina, and Udina. To the south-southwest of Kliuchevskoi lies Bezymianny Volcano, which appears to be emitting a small steam plume (at image center).
These volcanic peaks are an eye-catching landmark from orbit. Here’s an image of the same region taken by astronaut Chris Hadfield earlier this year:
Source: NASA Earth Observatory