Astronauts on the International Space Station snapped this photo of Sarychev Volcano's eruption earlier this month. The volcano, on the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan, hadn’t erupted in 20 years, and this blow launched ash more than 1,495 miles (2,406 kilometers) away. Planes were diverted from the area to avoid engine damage from superheated particulates.

Taken soon after the eruption, the image captures the pyroclastic flow—a speedy, scorching avalanche of rock, ash and gas—rushing down the side of the mountain and a curious white cloud around the top of main ash column. NASA scientists speculate the cloud is a pileus created as the ash pushed hot air up toward cooler parts of the atmosphere where it condensed. The blast also cleared a sizable circle in the clouds, making the view from outer space possible.