It never fails. Every month or so, the astronauts at the International Space Station capture Earth in the most amazing, astonishing, rock-your-socks-off way imaginable. Every time it's better than the previous one. This one is the current winner by far.

It's also quite different from the previous ones, which featured mostly auroras.

This one shows Africa's lightning storms and something else: the Milky Way rising over the horizon. Captured on December 29, 2011, it shows a pass "from over central Africa, near southeast Niger, to the South Indian Ocean, southeast of Madagascar." You can even see the Lovejoy Comet! It's there, very faintly, near the Milky Way. [NASA]