Astronauts Capture Incredible Photo of Volcanic Eruption From Space

Astronauts aboard the ISS captured this image of Raikoke Volcano on the Kuril Islands erupting

Astronauts aboard the ISS captured this image of Raikoke Volcano on the Kuril Islands erupting

For almost a century, the Kuril Islands' quiet volcano has rested in its isolated environment - a dormant period that came to a close on June 22 much to the chagrin of satellites and astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

It's a good thing Raikoke, part of the Kuril Islands that trace a line between Russian Federation and Japan, is uninhabited.

- Dan Lindsey (@DanLindsey77) June 26, 2019Mount Ulawun volcano is listed as one of 16 "Decade Volcanoes" targeted for research because they pose a significant risk of large, violent eruptions.

The last time it erupted was in 1924, according to NASA.

On June 25, Raikoke was still producing some ash plumes, these rising to a relatively modest height of around 6, 500 feet.

It forms a narrow column that spreads into what is known as the "umbrella region"-the area where the density of the plume and that of the surrounding atmosphere equalizes, causing the plume to stop rising".

"What a spectacular image". The ring of clouds at the base of the column appears to be water vapor, according to a NASA Earth Observatory blog post. "It reminds me of the classic Sarychev Peak astronaut photograph of an eruption in the Kurils from about 10 years ago", said volcanologist Simon Carn in a NASA statement.

Raikoke is a small, oval-shaped island and flows likely entered the water, scientists have speculated.

The next image was captured with an instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, called MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer.) Ash was concentrated on the western side of the volcano, and was diffused on the east by the action of the storm north of it.

According to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in Tokyo, Japan; and Anchorage, Alaska, the plume may have reached an altitude as high as eight miles. Before that, it last erupted in 1778, NASA said.

A third image (below), an oblique, composite view based on data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP, shows the plume a few hours later.

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