A view from space: these new ISS photos of Earth are out of this world!

Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi with his Nikon D5 in the ISS Cupola
Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi with his Nikon D5 in the ISS Cupola (Image credit: NASA)

Over the past 20 years, some of the best pictures of Earth have been taken from the International Space Station, as it loops around the world at a height of around 250 miles. But with a new crew of Expedition 64 now having been on board for over a month, there is a new name to add to the list of astronaut photographers who have been showing us distinctive aerial shots of Earth. ISS Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi is a space veteran - having first done a stint on the space station back in 2009. But now it appears one of his main duties is to take pictures of the world beneath him.

He has already shared a large number of beautiful images on his Twitter feed (opens in new tab), and on the official NASA image log (opens in new tab). And we have been particularly taken with some of this shots of the world's major cities, including New York, San Francisco and Sydney (as you can see below).

But what is Soichi Noguchi's weapon of choice for taking pictures from Cupola observatory module on the ISS? Turns out that NASA have not yet turned mirrorless, and are sticking with the Nikon D5 (opens in new tab) DSLRs that it bought a batch of back in 2017 (see the cameras that have been to space (opens in new tab)). And an astronaut's lens of choice for photographing the world beneath his feet? Well that turns out to be a Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 – a lens more usually seen around the touchlines of the world's sports stadia.

New York City, with Central Park clearly visible in the center - as seen from the International Space Station (Image credit: NASA)
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Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the winding Arkansas River (Image credit: NASA)
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Elkhart, Indiana, split by the St. Joseph River (Image credit: NASA)

Deriba caldera in Darfur, Sudan, which holds two lakes (Image credit: NASA)
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City of Jubba, Saudi Arabia, surrounded by the Nefud Desert (Image credit: NASA)
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Christchurch, New Zealand near Lake Ellesmere and Pigeon Bay (Image credit: NASA)
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Houston, Texas (Image credit: NASA)

Sydney, Australia (Image credit: NASA)
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San Francisco Bay (Image credit: NASA)
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Dubai, UAE - with Palm Islands and The World Islands clearly visible (Image credit: NASA)
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Read more
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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.