An astronaut aboard the International Space Station shot this photograph of the Rhône River flowing out of Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Léman)—the largest lake in the Alps—and winding through the city of Geneva, Switzerland.
Alpine in character and perennial in flow, the river flows for 813 kilometers (505 miles) from the Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of France. Along the way, the river is a crucial resource for hydroelectricity, irrigation for agriculture, transportation, and tourism along its banks.
Located in far western Switzerland, Geneva is among the largest cities on the river. Historically associated with watchmaking, Geneva is now equally well-known for precision machinery manufacturing. Among the city’s medieval structures, museums, and factories lies a history of international diplomacy. The League of Nations was headquartered in the city. Today it hosts the largest United Nations office outside of UN headquarters in New York City.
Just south of the city center, the Rhône and Arve rivers join—a confluence visible from space due to the contrasting colors of the sediment-laden Arve and the milky-blue Rhône.
Astronaut photograph ISS055-E-10916 was acquired on April 6, 2018, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 55 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Andi Thomas, Hx5, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.