A rare and breathtaking image of the Scottish Highlands on a cloudless day in winter has been captured by the International Space Station (ISS).
This image was taken in February on a Nikon D5 digital camera equipped with a 290-millimeter lens. In this 62-mile valley running from Inverness to Fort William, the photo shows the snow-capped mountains north of Glen Mor, including some of the oldest rocks in Europe, at the head of Loch Linnhe. The beautiful landscape was structured by geological forces some hundreds of millions of years ago.
The rocky landscape also shows signs of reshaping by flowing glaciers during the most recent of the Ice Ages, typically from around 2.5 million years ago. Glen Mor, also known as the “Great Valley” or “Great Glen”, is a fault zone marked by a number of elongated lakes, one of which is Loch Ness. The area has now become very talked about by the walkers and cyclists after locals built a pathway through the area, aka the Great Glen Way.
The Scottish region is usually cloudy and unclear during winter months, which prevents any landscape photography from above. But this image shows you a clear, cloudless view of Loch Ness. Nasa experts state that the picture was of value as cloudy skies are common for the region and prevent us to do detailed landscape photography from space, especially during the winter months.
In 2016, US astronaut Jeff Williams and his companion took the photo of Scotland without clouds, which he also described as “very rare”. While this time he twitted – “We had a great view of Scotland today…very rare to not be covered with clouds.”
People were quick to joke about the photo on Twitter. One user poked fun at the Loch Ness region, using The Automatic’s lyrics. He Twitted- “What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster, is it a monster?” A Scottish user cracked a light joke “I can see my house!” Another commented “beautiful” while another said, “rare indeed.”
This is a special and very unusual occasion for the astronauts, who say that you can never generally see the highlands from space. It’s been dubbed as typically impossible to see views of Loch Ness from the space station – that is, till date.
The Shot was released by the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit in association with the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility at Johnson Space Centre in Houston. The landscape was captured by a member of the Expedition 54 crew on February 25th.