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Alaska volcano's plume as seen from space station


Astronauts aboard the International Space Station photographed this striking view of Pavlof Volcano on May 18. The oblique perspective from the ISS reveals the three dimensional structure of the ash plume, which is often obscured by the top-down view of most remote sensing satellites.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this stunning view of an ash plume streaming from Pavlof Volcano on May 18.  The volcano began erupting 10 days ago in Alaska's chain of Aleutian Islands, about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

LiveScience reports that "the volcano's ash cloud has reached as high as 22,000 feet" — which is still at least 200 miles (320 kilometers) below the space station. Feast your eyes on additional orbital views of the volcano from NASA's Earth Observatory and the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. And if you think Pavlof looks impressive from outer space, check out the amazing perspectives from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The volcano, which erupted in the Aleutian Islands, began spewing ash on May 13, and the photo was taken five days later. NBC's Ann Curry reports.