On June 12, 2009, a fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) made it possible for an astronaut on board to capture Sarychev Volcano in the early stages of eruption. The volcano is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island, which is part of the Kuril Islands, a chain of 56 islands northeast of Japan. The eruption sent a plume of brown-colored ash and white steam rising into the atmosphere. The plume was so immense that it cast a large shadow on the island. Sarychev is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain. Prior to June 12, the last explosive eruption occurred in 1989, with eruptions in 1986, 1976, 1954, and 1946 also producing lava flows. Watch the video to see how the eruption looked from space.