These fantastic photos were taken by Flight Engineer Don Petit during the Expedition 31’s current tenure aboard the International Space Station.
He explains who he capture such stunning images on his flickr account. You know, if you ever happen to be aboard the International Space Station and want to try it yourself:
“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.”
The yellow orange trails you see in these photos are actually the lights of cites on Earth. A green aurora can also be seen surrounding the Earth in some of these extended exposure shots. The bluish blips you see on the surface of the Earth are actually lightning strikes. Cool!
This photo and the lead image remind me of Rainbow Road from Mario Kart. Anyone else?
You can view the whole collection here.