Home » These incredible photos from the ISS make Earth look like a video game

These incredible photos from the ISS make Earth look like a video game

by Alien UFO Sightings
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Between these amazing shots and his many wacky microgravity experiments, it’s abundantly clear that International Space Station astronaut Don Pettit has perhaps the coolest job on (and off of) this planet. Here’s his collection of long exposure “star trail” photographs that transform the Earth and the cosmic firmament into a pachinko parlor. Behold Pettit’s shots desktop-sized below, and here’s his explanation of his shooting technique: 

My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.

This is stargazing mixed with stunning long exposure photography while orbiting the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour. These star trails from space were captured by astronaut photographer Don Pettit. This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Photo #1 by ISS Science Officer Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: “My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes.  Photo #2 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

Taken on April 5, 2012. Astronaut Pettit continued, “With modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.” Photo #3 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

Star trails swirling outside of the ISS. Photo #4 by NASA / Don Pettit

As seen and shot through the ISS Window on the World. Photo #5 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

Pettit’s long exposure photography became an instant favorite for stargazers who would otherwise never be able to see star trails from space. Photo #6 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

View of Earth from the cupola. Photo #7 by ESA / NASA

@astro_Pettit tweeted, “Practice set-up for Dragon.” The astronauts captured the ‘Dragon;’ it’s how supplies were delivered as well as used to return items from space back to Earth. Photo #8 by ISS Astronaut Don Pettit

As the Dragon approaches, @astro_Pettit tweeted, “ATV docks, breathing fire and bringing good stuff.” Photo #9 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

Maneuvering Dragon to the docking port. Photo #10 by ISS Astronaut André Kuipers / ESA / NASA

We’ve all watched the sun set before, but this is what a sunset looks like from the back windows of the ISS. Photo #11 by ISS Astronaut André Kuipers / ESA / NASA

Did you ever play ‘name what that cloud looks like’ before? Here’s a different take on it from space, this time with shadows. @astro_pettit tweeted, “Space Monster casts a shadow.” He later added that they thought it looked like Godzilla right outside the space station. Photo #12 by ISS Astronaut Don Pettit aka @astro_Pettit

Living on the ISS with such spectacular views does more than fuel the imagination; it inspires an artist’s soul to write poetry. NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit tweeted this picture and wrote this poem for National Poetry Month. I really liked both and combined the two for you here. Photo (and poem) #13 by NASA / ISS Science Officer Don Pettit

What stars above Earth can look like at night when orbiting at 17,000 mph . . . and a little long exposure photography magic. Photo #14 by ISS Science Officer Don Pettit / NASA

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NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center wrote, “One of the Expedition 30 crew members photographed this nighttime scene while the International Space Station was flying at an altitude approximately 240 miles over the eastern North Atlantic. The view looks northeastward. Center point coordinates are 46.8 degrees north latitude and 14.3 degrees west longitude. The night lights of the cities of Ireland, in the foreground, and the United Kingdom, in the back and to the right, are contrasted by the bright sunrise in the background. The greens and purples of the Aurora Borealis are seen along the rest of the horizon.” Photo #15 by ISS / NASA

More of Astronaut Don Pettit’s stunning star trails from space. Photo #16 by ISS Astronaut Don Pettit

This unique photographic angle, featuring the International Space Station’s Cupola and crew activity inside it, other hardware belonging to the station, city lights on Earth and airglow was captured by one of the Expedition 28 crew members. The major urban area on the coast is Brisbane, Australia. The station was passing over an area southwest of Canberra. Photo #18 by NASA

Incredible long exposure photography from space. Photo #19 by ISS Astronaut & Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit

Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth’s horizon in this nighttime image photographed by NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander, onboard the International Space Station. Photo #20 by NASA

May 15, 2012: Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko (center), Expedition 31 commander; along with European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers (left) and NASA astronaut Don Pettit, both flight engineers, pose for a photo near a globe floating freely in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Photo #21 by NASA: 2Explore

A great shot from the ISS by ESA astronaut André Kuipers. For some time recently, the orbital outpost has been travelling close to the terminator, the line between night and day, and has provided the astronauts with stunning sights like this. Photo #22 by ESA / NASA

When passing over the Earth in darkness, the ISS astronauts often see lightning flashes illuminating the clouds. This lightning flash was captured recently by ESA astronaut André Kuipers. Photo #23 by ESA / NASA

Aurora Australis, South Pacific, New Zealand. This picture, recorded by one of the Expedition 31 crew members aboard the International Space Station, features Aurora Australis with star streaks while the vehicle was over the South Pacific Ocean. The picture was taken when the orbital outpost was above 47.8 degrees south latitude and 179.6 degrees west longitude, about 10 degrees east of southern New Zealand. Two Russian spacecraft are seen in the foreground docked to the station. Photo #24 by NASA

Sun glinting off the surface of the Earth. Photo #25 by ESA / NASA

Moonset, as seen from the ISS. Another amazing shot of the Earth and the moon from ESA astronaut André Kuipers. Photo #26 by ESA / NASA

On the night of April 21, the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower peaked in the skies over Earth. While NASA all sky cameras were looking up at the night skies, astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station trained his video camera on Earth below. Footage from that night is now revealing breathtaking images of Earth at night with meteors ablating — or burning up — in the atmosphere.. Photo #27 by NASA / JSC / Don Pettit

Lyrid meteor shower as shot by Astronaut Don Pettit. Video #1 by Don Pettit / NASA

Timelapse videos depicting the stars from low earth orbit, as viewed from the International Space Station. Images edited using Adobe Lightroom with some cropping to make the stars the focal point of each shot, and with manipulation of the contrast to bring out the stars a bit more. Dedicated to those who dream of exploring the solar system, and those who are sharing their experiences while doing it. Video #2 editing by Alex Rivest

You can find more of these astounding views at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Flickr page. And for another view of the ISS blazing across the heavens, check out this time-lapse video.

Source io9.com

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