Gazing down from space, an astronaut has managed capture a beautiful effect created by the Moon reflecting back off the surface of the Mediterranean sea.
The photograph was taken from the International Space Station on October 17, 2015, although it has only just been posted by NASA Earth Observatory. Perhaps most incredibly, the image was taken by a crew member using a commercially available Nikon digital camera, with no mentioned fancy imaging techniques.
The western coast of Italy and its neighboring islands – complete with city lights – can be seen in the black areas, with the silvery areas showing where the moonlight has reflected off the sea. Live Science explains that the darker areas of the sea indicate rougher waters, where the light can't reflect back as uniformly as it would on a smooth plane of water.
Check out the map below if you need help getting a perspective of what exactly you are looking at.
As NASA explains, viewing the seas under the spotlight of the Moon can actually highlight some of the rhythms and currents of the sea and weather. The wisps, swirls and trails – most clearly seen to the north of the Tuscan island, Elba – signals a current of water.