That's a picture taken from a helium balloon at 28km in altitude. To put that in perspective, the average airliner flies at only 9km. The balloon, created by Jean-Sébastien Busque, carried a video camera, still camera, GPS and a ham radio, but sadly Jean didn't get to take a joy-ride himself. Probably because he didn't have a space jumpsuit. Eventually the balloon flew too high, popped, and the package fell back to Earth. [MAKE]
Actually, such high-altitude balloon launches are a fairly regular occurrence. They're used not only for weather-related research, but are used by HAM radio operators, students, the testing of instrumentation to be used on orbital satellites, and direct atmospheric research (i.e., gas concentrations, particulates mesaurement, radiation wavelength monitoring, etc).