Tag Archives: ISS

Behold: the passage of day into night as seen from the International Space Station in 2001. To wit: 

…in this gorgeous view of ocean and clouds over our fair planet Earth, the shadow line or terminator is diffuse and shows the gradual transition to darkness we experience as twilight. With the Sun illuminating the scene from the right, the cloud tops reflect gently reddened sunlight filtered through the dusty troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet’s nurturing atmosphere. A clear high altitude layer, visible along the dayside’s upper edge, scatters blue sunlight and fades into the blackness of space. This picture was taken in June of 2001 from the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of 211 nautical miles. But you can check out the vital signs of Planet Earth Now.

(Image: ISS Expedition 2 Crew, Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA)


Behold: a spectacular view from the International Space Station of an aurora generously slathered like salsa verde onto the Earth’s thermosphere just before midsummer 2017. To wit:

About 400 kilometres (250 miles) above Earth, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays. Aurorae have the signature colours of excited molecules and atoms at the low densities found at extreme altitudes. Emission from atomic oxygen dominates this view. The tantalizing glow is green at lower altitudes, but rarer reddish bands extend above the space station’s horizon. The orbital scene was captured while passing over a point south and east of Australia, with stars above the horizon at the right belonging to the constellation Canis Major, Orion’s big dog. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, is the brightest star near the Earth’s limb.

(Image: Jack Fischer, Expedition 52, NASA)


Aggh! It’s a TIE fighter. No wait, it’s a sunspot. No wait, it’s the International Space Station. But what’s it doing on the Sun? To wit:

Transiting the Sun is not very unusual for the ISS, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one’s timing and equipment just right for a great image is rare. Strangely, besides that fake spot, in this recent two-image composite, the Sun lacked any real sunspots. The featured picture combines two images — one capturing the space station transiting the Sun — and another taken consecutively capturing details of the Sun’s surface. Sunspots have been rare on the Sun since the dawn of the current Solar Minimum, a period of low solar activity. For reasons not yet fully understood, the number of sunspots occurring during both the previous and current solar minima have been unusually low.

(Image: Rainee Colacurcio)


Well now, if it isn’t the International Space Station. To wit.

Using precise timing, the Earth-orbiting space platform was photographed in front of a partially lit gibbous Moon last month. The featured image was taken from Palo AltoCaliforniaUSA with an exposure time of only 1/667 of a second. In contrast, the duration of the transit of the ISS across the entire Moon was about half a second. A close inspection of this unusually crisp ISS silhouette will reveal the outlines of numerous solar panels and trusses. The bright crater Tycho is visible on the lower left, as well as comparatively rough, light colored terrain known as highlands, and relatively smooth, dark colored areas known as maria.

(Image: Eric Holland)