We are in a golden age for space photos, full of stunningand glowing views of sun glinting off .
You might mistake a new photo captured by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti for being another in a series of views out into the wide universe. Taken from the International Space Station and featured today, Tuesday, the image shows an elongated cluster of bright lights, spread out across a black background. Though they look like stars, the lights are from fishing boats seen against a dark sea.
The space station was about 250 miles above the Earth's surface when Cristoforetti looked down and the boats caught her eye. Fishermen use the lights to attract a variety of fish species. A layer of cloud cover lends a hazy edge to the lights.
Lights from fishing boats have attracted attention in the past. Ashowed mysterious lights, far from any town, off the coast of Argentina. NASA soon identified it as an image of boats attracting a particular species of squid by using bright lights.
Cristoforetti's picture shows how looking down on Earth can sometimes be just as fascinating as peering out deep into space.