Mind-blowing photos from the International Space Station show Earth's cities sparkling at night

ISS tim peake spaceNASATim Peake floating some fresh fruit © 2016, Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

British astronaut Tim Peake (whose birthday is today, April 7!) has been orbiting the planet for almost four months aboard the International Space Station, a 
habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit that can sometimes be spotted even with the naked eye.
He’s part of the European Space Agency’s six-month Principia Mission, which has him working to maintain the ISS’ weightless research laboratory and conduct experiments. But he’s also a photographer — and the images and videos he’s taken aboard the ISS are stunning.

Here are a few of our favourites:

 

Italy at night. You can spot the major cities.

New Delhi, India, and the Himalayas in South Asia on a moonlit night.

Progress, a Russian cargo-supply ship, launching into orbit. Progress delivers much-needed supplies to crews stationed aboard the ISS.

In space, you get to see the moon set. Peake said he was 'looking for Antarctica,' but he settled for this moon-set instead.

Europe at night, with Aurora Borealis -- the northern lights -- in the background.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, partly covered by clouds.

Aurora Borealis from the ISS. Stunning.

The Rio Santa Cruz in Patagonia, Argentina. The water get the bright blue colour from glacial sediment.

Crew members aboard the ISS see 16 sunsets a day in their orbit. Peake posted that this was the most beautiful one he's seen.

The Sahara Desert in Algeria. It almost looks like a painting.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, a city of over 11 million people, looks tiny from space.

The bright lights of Europe.

The green and white lights are all fishing boats off the coast.

Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko in their 'office' aboard the ISS. Happy birthday, Tim!

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