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

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

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:

 

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#italy-at-night-you-can-spot-the-major-cities-1″
title=”Italy at night. You can spot the major cities.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b02191058428008bb59f”
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25673376483/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#new-delhi-india-and-the-himalayas-in-south-asia-on-a-moonlit-night-2″
title=”New Delhi, India, and the Himalayas in South Asia on a moonlit night.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b24c52bcd022008bb706″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25612854023/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#progress-a-russian-cargo-supply-ship-launching-into-orbit-progress-delivers-much-needed-supplies-to-crews-stationed-aboard-the-iss-3″
title=”Progress, a Russian cargo-supply ship, launching into orbit. Progress delivers much-needed supplies to crews stationed aboard the ISS.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b2fb9105842b008bb564″
source=”Tim Kopra/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26138683791/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#in-space-you-get-to-see-the-moon-set-peake-said-he-was-looking-for-antarctica-but-he-settled-for-this-moon-set-instead-4″
title=”In space, you get to see the moon set. Peake said he was ‘looking for Antarctica,’ but he settled for this moon-set instead.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b35052bcd044008bb6e8″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25864937890/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#europe-at-night-with-aurora-borealis–the-northern-lights–in-the-background-6″
title=”Europe at night, with Aurora Borealis — the northern lights — in the background.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b13e52bcd023008bb650″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26003241950/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#rio-de-janeiro-brazil-partly-covered-by-clouds-7″
title=”Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, partly covered by clouds.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b3b752bcd020008bb58e”
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26089637456/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#aurora-borealis-from-the-iss-stunning-8″
title=”Aurora Borealis from the ISS. Stunning.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b4de52bcd022008bb71f”
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25446918894/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-rio-santa-cruz-in-patagonia-argentina-the-water-get-the-bright-blue-color-from-glacial-sediment-9″
title=”The Rio Santa Cruz in Patagonia, Argentina. The water get the bright blue colour from glacial sediment.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b8ec52bcd044008bb708″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25957644692/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#crew-members-aboard-the-iss-see-16-sunsets-a-day-in-their-orbit-peake-posted-that-this-was-the-most-beautiful-one-hes-seen-10″
title=”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.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b49152bcd023008bb668″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25837240330/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-sahara-desert-in-algeria-it-almost-looks-like-a-painting-12″
title=”The Sahara Desert in Algeria. It almost looks like a painting.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b9a39105844e018bb69b”
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25941495231/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#sao-paulo-brazil-a-city-of-over-11-million-people-looks-tiny-from-space-13″
title=”Sao Paulo, Brazil, a city of over 11 million people, looks tiny from space.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b3f652bcd05b008bb618″
source=”Tim Peake NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26089638106/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-bright-lights-of-europe-14″
title=”The bright lights of Europe.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b06591058424008bb4e7″
source=”Tim Peake/ NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26276119115/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-green-and-white-lights-are-all-fishing-boats-off-the-coast-15″
title=”The green and white lights are all fishing boats off the coast.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706bbe49105841c008bb525″
source=”Tim Peake/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/25302394823/in/photostream/”
]
[slide
permalink=”/#tim-peake-and-yuri-malenchenko-in-their-office-aboard-the-iss-happy-birthday-tim-16″
title=”Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko in their ‘office’ aboard the ISS. Happy birthday, Tim!”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5706b43a52bcd01f7b8bb25b”
source=”Tim Kopra/NASA”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeake/26046559261/in/photostream/”
]
[/slideshow]