NASA Releases Beautiful Photographs of Lightning Taken from the ISS


If it ever was a secret, it sure isn’t anymore: we LOVE photos from space. And judging by the response we typically get to sharing them, so do you, which is why we were so excited when we stumbled across these magnificent images of lightning NASA released just a couple of days ago.

The photographs were taken from the International Space Station (ISS) — the first in December 2013, the second in January 2011 — and are being shared with the world to bring attention to some new lightning-specific hardware that NASA just installed on the ISS.


The ‘Firestation’ instruments, as they’re being called, have nothing to do with photography, so we won’t cover them here (read all about them on the Earth Observatory website if you’re interested). We’re glad they were installed though, because it gives us an excuse to share these photos.

For the gear heads out there, both images were taken with a Nikon D3s. The first was shot with an 85mm lens, and shows a lightning strike between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The second was shot with a 180mm lens, and captures a lightning flash inside a thunderhead above Bolivia.

For more info or if you’d like to download either of these images in high-res, head over to the Earth Observatory website by clicking here.

(via PopPhoto)

Image credits: Photographs courtesy of NASA

  • Scott M.

    Someone should ask NASA to get a D800E and a 300mm 2.8 VR2 lens. D3s?

  • OtterMatt

    Holy hell those are amazing.

  • OtterMatt

    “Oh, waaaaahh! Someone who isn’t a photographer isn’t using good enough hardware to satisfy my pettiness!”
    You may notice that photography isn’t their job. Good luck getting that past a budget review.

  • Rodrigo Abello

    awesome pics …..with a great vantage view.

  • Valenten

    this looks great !

  • SciGirl

    Cameras that fly in space need to be custom lubricated and flight tested.