Out of this world: The view from space

Spectacular photos taken from the International Space Station

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The Independent Online

The distinctive shape of the British Isles is formed by a dot-to-dot patchwork of lights as the Aurora Borealis illuminates the pitch black skyline; The Palm and World Islands in Dubai are seen in the aerial glory their designer intended; the moon sets below the Earth's horizon in place of the sun.

These are just some of the images captured by Dutch astronaut André Kuipers from 240 miles above our planet's surface, aboard the International Space Station.

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The European Space Agency (ESA) engineer, part of PromiSSe, the first long-duration mission for a European following the end of the Shuttle programme in July, said before his visit: "I remember how thing the Earth's atmosphere looks from space and how black the Universe is.

"It made me realise that billions of people live in a very fragile planet. We really should take care of it."