Environment

An Astronaut's View Of Mount Etna's Recent Volcanic Eruption

Mount Etna has been getting up to a lot of trouble recently with a BBC film crew narrowly avoiding a tragic run-in with one of its volcanic blasts. But around 400 kilometers (248 miles) above the drama, it all looks remarkably peaceful over Europe’s most active volcano.

The below image was tweeted by French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet who is currently on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a 6-month mission. Pesquet captioned the snap, taken on March 19, with: “The volcano is currently erupting and the molten lava is visible from space, at night! (the red lines on the left)”.

This 3,329-meter-tall (10,922 feet) volcano lies on the east coast of Sicily, between the African tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate. Etna has been spluttering with lava and volcanic activity since the end of February, providing some stunning sights for the nearby cities of Catania and Taormina, as well as the sleepy town of Giarre. Although the authorities say she poses no threat to these towns, we reckon it’s still best to enjoy from low earth orbit.

Bellissimo!  

Pesquet’s photo shows the molten lava from Etna’s eruption glowing red and visible from the ISS (the red lines in the dark section of the image, to the left). ESA/NASA

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