Clear Skies Over Alaska
An astronaut took this photograph on a clear spring 2019 day while looking north toward mainland Alaska. At the time, the International Space Station (ISS) was located approximately 430 kilometers (270 miles) southeast of the Alaska Peninsula.
Clear views of Alaska from the ISS are uncommon due to frequent cloud cover and the limits of the ISS orbit trajectory. The spacecraft flies between 51.6 degrees; North and South, so regions near the Arctic Circle (66.5N), are difficult to photograph and often beyond an astronaut's field of view.
This oblique photograph offers a wide view toward the Seward Peninsula. The Bering Strait is visible with the easternmost reaches of Russia on the other side of the narrow waterway. Pack ice is floating through the strait toward the Bering Sea. The snow cover in this spring season photo highlights braided rivers, lakes, and the Ahklun Mountains.
Astronauts on some space shuttle missions had more direct views of Alaska for photography, such as this photo from mission STS042 that offers a different perspective on the Ahklun Mountains.