This photo, taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, looks like a multi-colored starry night, but it’s actually the lights of fishing boats out at sea, distorted through cloud cover.

“Fishing boats… what intriguing visual effects as the light shines through a cloud layer!” she commented on the scenery, which likely took place somewhere in South Asia.

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Many fish and squid are attracted to light, so fishermen shine bright lights to lure them into nets. Each blurry spot represents one fishing boat obscured by clouds but the black fractals are areas with clear skies.

[Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA/NASA]

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