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Crew of Expedition 40 on International Space Station captures breathtaking photo of Italy

Italy oblique night image international space station expedition 40

By ANDREW TAVANI

Italy is one of the world's most geographically easily recognizable countries thanks to its signature boot shape, which earned it the famous nickname 'The Boot' (or 'Lo Stivale' in Italian). Last Saturday, Expedition 40 crew members aboard the International Space Station captured a breathtaking photo of the Italian peninsula from outer space -- at night. The 'oblique night image,' which illustrates the iconic boot in a way many have likely never seen before, was posted to the ISS Facebook page, where it's racked up around 5,000 likes as of this report.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, who is aboard the ISS and has proven prolific at posting stunning images from space during his time in orbit, posted the image to his Twitter feed, where it was retweeted more than 7,000 times and favorited more than 7,800 times. It's easy to see why as this pic is nothing short of extraordinary.

Earlier on AOL.com:

NASA's awesome Instagram photos



More to see on AOL.com:

For 31 amazing photos from July, click here.

For 30 amazing photos from June, click here.

For 31 amazing photos from May, click here.

For 30 amazing photos from April, click here.

For 31 amazing photos from March, click here.

For 28 amazing photos from February, click here.

Join the discussion

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knr63 August 01 2014 at 2:47 PM

I wish the world was as peaceful as this photo!!!!

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2 replies
ganderrrr knr63 August 01 2014 at 5:59 PM

With greater magnification you'd be able to see the Mafia at work.

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Franco knr63 August 02 2014 at 1:15 AM

Keep on wishing.

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ringmasterigs August 01 2014 at 4:54 PM

I personally like the blue hue in the horizon.

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1 reply
gramargo ringmasterigs August 01 2014 at 9:36 PM

I had the photo a bit too high on my screen to see that until you mentioned it. What a gorgeous color along the edge of our earth!

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laclone August 01 2014 at 11:25 PM

If you look at the eastern side of Sicily, you'll see the large grouping of lights that make up the Catania/Acireale city area.

And just above that is a dark, almost circular area. That is the Mount Etna volcano. And see that red light at the center of it...?

You're seeing the lava as it flows down from the mouth of the volcano.

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2 replies
dal laclone August 02 2014 at 6:42 AM

COOL ! I saw that at first but didn't equate what I was looking at. It reminded me of the space photos taken over Africa and you can clearly see the modern cities and out in the bush the campfires of the thousands of tribes scattered through the countryside.

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laclone laclone August 02 2014 at 10:12 AM

You can also see a dark spot in lights of the Naples area. That is Mount Vesuvius.

For a size comparison, the Vesuvius dark spot is approximately 135 sq. miles (M.V. National Park size), while Mt. Etna's dark spot is roughly 450 sq. miles (being +/- 500 miles closer to the camera makes it look even larger).

Look up both volcanos on Wiki for an interesting read and some great pics.

I have been up the side of Etna, and INSIDE the Vesuvius crater. There are tours that do this. On the Vesuvius one, not only do you go inside it, you can walk all the way around the rim of the crater, which is a looong walk ( during which, nature called. So I have the distinction of being one of the few people in the world to have ever pissed into the mouth of a active Volcano! Hey, when ya' gotta go, ya' gotta go!!! ).

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dpaustex August 01 2014 at 5:46 PM

Wow, lots of light pollution.

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dal August 01 2014 at 5:49 PM

you can almost see my house from here.

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2 replies
Franco dal August 01 2014 at 9:53 PM

Liar. :O)

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petpetdon dal August 01 2014 at 10:25 PM

You can see my Tuscan Villa that I bought with my 1% pay raise.

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domingbfan August 01 2014 at 8:26 PM

if you dont have anything nice to say, say it twice, you will make most recommended

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1 reply
leaven domingbfan August 02 2014 at 8:42 AM

Yes, it's true. But even saying it twice will probably fail to penetrate the thick skulls of most politically correct socialists and wannabe communists reading this piece.

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wugme80 August 01 2014 at 5:59 PM

Is it just me ????? Sicily doesn't look right, on the World maps it's positioned differently!!!! The straight line to the left is more towards the bottom on any map I looked at !!!! I'm just sayin......????

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2 replies
Steve wugme80 August 01 2014 at 9:12 PM

It's not just you. Sicily is geographically incorrect in this photo.

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1 reply
laclone Steve August 01 2014 at 11:45 PM

You both are forgetting that the Earth is a sphere. Maps are drawn as if the Earth were flat. Photos of land masses from space show them slightly askew from what shapes we're use to seeing.

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exoray wugme80 August 01 2014 at 11:03 PM

ALL 'flat' (Mercator Projection) maps represent a huge distortion... We have become so accustomed 'flat' (Mercator Projection) maps that we forget or don't know how things really look on a 'globe'... The Mercator Projection maps are great for navigation but horribly represent the actual size, shape and even orientation of the land masses... Get out a globe (current one build with satellite mapping data) and take a picture at the same orientation this one was taken and you will see it's actually correct... And Google up 'map projection' or 'map distortion' and see why this happens and the distortions caused...

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1 reply
foubabou exoray August 02 2014 at 1:31 AM

Or just go to Google Earth and setup the same picture.

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publius1 August 01 2014 at 8:35 PM

Now I understand why the Italians play soccer!

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jgesselberty August 01 2014 at 5:36 PM

Both beautiful and eye opening. Kind of proves that the evil US is not the only one who wastes energy.

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2 replies
email17070 jgesselberty August 01 2014 at 5:53 PM

GET A LIFE !!

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ganderrrr jgesselberty August 01 2014 at 5:58 PM

It's night. They're using energy. No evidence in this photo of waste.

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1 reply
gramargo ganderrrr August 01 2014 at 9:38 PM

You have to admit there's a lot of excess light around Rome and Naples as well as a few other cities.

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Franco August 01 2014 at 9:55 PM

The differentiation in light between North and South Korea would have been more of a draistic display.

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