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Astronaut photographs glorious 'sheet of flame' sunset

An otherworldly sunset seen from space paints the planet with a streak of fire in an impressive NASA image.

This sunset is on fire.


We get some spectacular sunsets down here on Earth, but those same light shows look very different from the vantage point of the International Space Station. NASA describes this sunset view over the South Atlantic as looking like "a vast sheet of flame."

ISS astronauts view 16 sunsets each day, but this image is one of the more memorable. The planet is dark, while clouds seen from the side capture the orange light from the sunset.

Earth's atmosphere is visible here as layers of color ranging from brown nearest the black swathe of the planet on up through bands of increasingly darker blue. "Astronauts often comment on how thin and fragile Earth's atmosphere seems," NASA notes.

A member of the Expedition 49 crew took the photo using a Nikon D4 camera on October 27 and NASA released it as a featured Image of the Day on Tuesday.