Twenty stunning images of the Middle East captured from space

Astronauts have sent back incredible pictures of the region for many years

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From dramatic dunes and eye-catching lakes to coral reefs and huge dust storms, astronauts in space have been capturing the wonders of the Middle East for many years.

The Earth Observatory by Nasa has hundreds of images on its website taken from the International Space Station.

The UAE's first astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri, also tweeted a selection of striking photos of his homeland and other countries in the region during his time in space.

Other spectacular snapshots show thunder clouds over Saudi Arabia, volcanic fields in Syria and dust storms sweeping across the Arabian Gulf.

The National has highlighted 20 picture-perfect scenes of the Middle East captured from space over the years.

“From their orbiting home on the International Space Station, astronauts have a view unlike anything most of us will ever see,” Nasa’s Earth Observatory said.

“In the past 20 years, they have shot millions of photographs, and it is not just a hobby. It is an important scientific job, and one they need to be trained to do.

“So, the astronauts and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing team work together before, during and after every mission to get the most out of every shot.”

Images captured by UAE satellite KhalifaSat - in pictures