Spectacular Southern Lights, Shooting Stars, Sahara Snapshots and more from ESA’s Alexander Gerst aboard ISS

Spectacular snapshots of the Southern Lights, Shooting Stars, the Sahara Desert and much more are streaming back from space to Earth courtesy of Alexander Gerst, ESA’s German astronaut currently serving aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

See a gallery of Alex’s stunning space-based views (sagenhafte Weltraum bilder) collected herein – starting with the auroral fireworks seen from space – above. It coincides with the Earth-based fireworks of America’s 4th of July Independence Day weekend celebrations and spectacular Noctilucent Clouds (NLCs) wafting over the Northern Hemisphere. NLC gallery here.

“Saw a beautiful Southern Light last night. I so wish you could see this with your own eyes!” Alex tweeted in English.

Gerst is posting his Earth & space imagery from the ISS on a variety of social media including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his ESA astronaut blog bilingually in English and German.

Another new snapshot of Earth’s “beautiful Southern Lights” taken from the ISS on 5 July 2014. Credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst

“Habe gestern ein wunderschönes Südlicht gesehen. Ich wünschte ihr könntet das mit eigenen Augen sehen!” Alex tweeted in German.

Check out Alexander Gerst’s stunning 1st timelapse video from the ISS:

Video Caption: ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s first timelapse from the International Space Station features the first shooting star that he saw from above. Made by stitching together over 250 images this short clip shows the beauty of our world and the space around it. Published on July 5, 2014. Credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst

Gerst launched to the ISS on his rookie space flight on May 28, 2014 aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule along with Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman.

ISS Expedition 40 patch

The trio are members of Expeditions 40 and 41 and joined three more station flyers already aboard – cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov & Oleg Artemyev and astronaut Steve Swanson – to bring the station crew complement to six.

Alex will spend six months on the ISS for ESA’s Blue Dot mission. He is Germany’s third astronaut to visit the ISS. He is trained as a geophysicist and a volcanologist.

Gerst also has practiced and honed another talent – space barber! He shaved the heads of his two American crew mates – to match his bald head – after winning a friendly wager with them when Germany beat the US in a 2014 FIFA World Cup match on June 26.

Here’s several of Alexander Gerst’s newest views of the Sahara Desert and more.

“Even from space, the Sahara looks dry! Sogar vom Weltraum aus, sieht die Sahara trocken aus!” Taken from the ISS on 6 July 2014. Credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst
“Harsh land. Windswept valleys in northern Africa. Hartes Land. Windgefraeste Taeler in Nordafrika.” Taken from the ISS on 6 July 2014. Credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst
“Sometimes our atmosphere looks incredibly complex and three-dimensional, sometimes you don’t even see it. Manchmal schaut unsere Atmosphäre unglaublich Komplex und dreidimensional aus, manchmal fast unsichtbar.” Taken from the ISS on 5 July 2014. Credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst
Antarctic aurora. The Antarctic aurora, photographed by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and posted on social media with the comment: “Antarctic Aurora fleeing from sunrise. I have rarely seen something more magical in my life!” Credits: ESA/NASA/Alexander Gerst

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing ISS, OCO-2, GPM, Curiosity, Opportunity, Orion, SpaceX, Boeing, Orbital Sciences, MAVEN, MOM, Mars and more Earth & Planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer


Learn more about Orbital Sciences Antares ISS launch on July 11 from NASA Wallops, VA, and more about SpaceX, Boeing, commercial space, NASA’s Mars missions and more at Ken’s upcoming presentations.

July 10/11: “Antares/Cygnus ISS Launch from Virginia” & “Space mission updates”; Rodeway Inn, Chincoteague, VA, evening

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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