Nasa has once again confirmed it – Exuma’s beauty is out of this world.
From a height of more than 400km, and looking down on nearly 200 countries, thousands of cities and dozens of geological wonders of the world, this chain of islands in the Bahamas continues to be the fan favorite for astronauts circling the globe from the International Space Station (ISS).
Of course, the startling beauty of these cays, world famous for their swirling shades of blue, tend to receive more than a few clicks of the camera.
The latest image from the ISS made the rounds in newspapers, websites and social media accounts all around the world this month, when an unnamed astronaut snapped an incredible shot of the Exuma cays and the major tidal channels cutting between them.
“Exuma is known for being remote from the bigger islands of the Bahamas, an it is rich with privately owned cays and with real pirate history, including Captain Kidd,” Nasa said.
Some media outlets have attributed the photo to Scott J Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently doing a year full on the ISS. Kelly has been busy posting many photos of Earth, but in a recent Twitter post, he made his preference clear.
“Had first video conference with my youngest daughter today,” he tweeted. “Showed her the most beautiful place from space. #Bahamas
According to Nasa, small tidal changes on the banks cause great quantities of water to flow daily through the narrow channels between the cays. Indeed, drastically varying water depths is reason the behind the surreal shades of blue in the Exumas, with the dark blue signifying deep water, an the light blue signiying shallow. It is also the reason for the formation of stunningly beautiful sand bars that only rise from the ocean for limited periods each day.
In this most recent photo, when you zoom in, you can even see a tiny plane, shown as a silhouette against the ocean, along with its twin condensation trails.
But Kelly is not the only astronaut to broadcast Exuma’s beauty. Terry Virts, who is also on board the ISS, also tweeted:
During past missions by well-known Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, he said made his feelings known.
Meanwhile, for Kelly, he is on only day 180 on a one year mission on the ISS. Considering the space station orbits the Earth every 92.91 minutes, he’ll have plenty more opportunities to gaze down on the most stunning sight in the world.