Astronauts in ISS Captured Breath-Taking Images of Raikoke Volcano Eruption

ISS astronauts snap staggering volcano eruption

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured an incredible photograph of a volcano erupting Saturday morning.

The blessed event took place on June 22nd at about 4:00 am, when the circular 2.5km x 2.0 km (1.6 x 1.2 mile) island spat out a vast plume of volcanic gases and ash between 13 and 17 km (8 to 10 miles) into the sky.

From their outer-space vantage point, they captured a seldom seen perspective of the vigorous eruption of Raikoke.

Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech in a NASA Earth Observatory post that the ash at the top of the plume is surrounded by a white cloud. Before that, the most recent previous eruption was recorded in 1778, making the photo above a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

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The eruption was a display of the classic shape of volcanic plume rising up into the air.

The volcano rumbled back to life on June 22, sending a plume of ash and gas skyward. The thick plume was carried to the east by a storm in the North Pacific, and astronauts on the ISS, and orbiting satellites, watched it all happen.

In the picture, you can clearly see how the cloud rises up in a narrow column before coming to a stop when it meets air of similar density.

The ring of clouds at the base of the plume appears to be water vapor, according to the space agency. The ash plume reached heights of 13km and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a "red" warning for airlines. The scientist also noted that the water vapor could be caused by an interaction of magma and seawater because Raikoke is a small island, and the lava flaws are expected to have entered the water. Satellites have also been monitoring the ash that spewed from the volcano, since rock and volcanic glass fragments can pose a "serious hazard to aircraft", according to the press release. The Terra and Suomi NPP satellites, operated by NASA and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration respectively, also managed to capture photos of the incident.

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