NASA Shutdown Unleashes Beautiful Astronaut Photos on Twitter

Despite the two-week old  government shutdown and NASA’s official online presence going completely dark, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have still been tweeting away and sharing some pretty spectacular snapshots.

During the shutdown, NASA has kept Mission Control lights on at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, making sure that all communication lines are kept open with the international orbiting laboratory and that its six crew members are kept safe.  U.S. ISS astronauts Karen Nyberg  (@AstroKarenN) and Mike Hopkins (@AstroIllini) have kept mum on the government shenanigans, but it obviously hasn’t stopped them from sharing some breath-taking views from orbit.  Here’s just a select few cosmic portraits that caught our eye.

Hopkins managed to capture a blast of green auroras from a unique perspective about a week ago.

A day after, looking out the porthole Hopkins saw this bizarre cloud formation that turned out to be from a missile launch by Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces

Saw something launch into space today. Not sure what it was but the cloud it left behind was pretty amazing
4:21 PM – 10 Oct 2013

From nearly 400 kilometers in altitude very distinctive human-made structures can be made out, like in Dubai.

Not something you see every day first hand. With features like this, Dubai stands out from 260 miles up.
5:20 PM – 14 Oct 2013

The southernmost tip of the African continent with the Atlantic Ocean above and Indian Ocean below.

The tip of Africa. October 14.
11:38 AM – 14 Oct 2013

Clouds speckle the skies above a sparkling inlet along the western coast of India that leads into the Arabian Sea.

Sun glint on the Gulf of Khambhat, India. October 14.
7:32 AM – 14 Oct 2013

by Andrew Fazekas

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