Astronaut photo shows the Kilauea volcano’s orange glow from space

From the ground, the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island looks like a hellish mouth opening up, revealing the Earth’s depths. 

But from space, the volcano takes on a different look. 

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold snapped a photo of the oozing volcano from his post on the International Space Station. From orbit, Kilauea appears nothing more than a bright spot of light in a vast sea of darkness. 

Arnold described the scene in a tweet: “The pumpkin orange lava flows of #Kilauea aglow during the predawn hours over the Pacific Ocean.” 

Kilauea’s recent spate of eruptive activity has been ongoing since May, with fissures in the ground opening up into neighborhoods and destroying property near the volcano’s foothills. 

Small bits of ash and volcanic glass are also being lifted high into the air, traveling to other parts of the Big Island before being dropped to the ground.

“Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash,” the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said in a statement Wednesday.

While this particular volcano doesn’t erupt explosively like Mount Saint Helens or, most recently, Guatemala’s Fuego volcano, it can occasionally shoot boulders and volcanic ash high into the air when pressure within Kilauea builds up. 

You can keep an eye on the volcano thanks to the USGS’s webcams.

This isn’t the first time crewmembers on the space station have seen the Kilauea eruption from orbit. 

Another NASA astronaut, Drew Feustel, snapped a photo of the volcano steaming during the day from 250 miles above. 

Satellites have also been keeping an eye on the eruption from above, giving us all a healthy dose of perspective on the ongoing volcanic activity.

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