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Egypt's Great Pyramid stars in haunting space image

The pyramids of Giza in Egypt come into focus in a remarkable image snapped by a European Space Agency satellite.

Clouds hover in this ghostly satellite image from the ESA's Proba-1.

Capturing a clear image of the pyramids of Giza in Egypt has long been a photography challenge for astronauts on board the International Space Station. The European Space Agency's Proba-1 satellite managed to pull off the feat to spectacular effect.

Proba-1 caught sight of the Pyramid of Menkaure (near the center), the Pyramid of Khafre (just below) and the Great Pyramid of Giza (farthest to the left). Cairo's suburbs appear in the grid-like areas around the edges.

There's a ghostly quality to the image as clouds throw shadows on the ground. The Great Pyramid is 455 feet (140 meters) tall, but it looks like a model when seen from space. 

The satellite view is remarkably clear, which should give the ISS astronauts something to strive for.

Proba-1 snapped the portrait in early January and the ESA shared it this week. 

The minisatellite, launched in 2001, is the ESA's longest-serving Earth-observing mission. Proba-1 has been used to monitor everything from glaciers to urban areas in support of scientific studies. This fantastic pyramids image is a delightful bonus.