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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. Space station hardware in the foreground includes the Mini-Research Module (MRM1, center) and a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment (right).
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. A total of 47 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite.
Image courtesy of NASA.
Donald Pettit | See All Editions
Donald Pettit is a chemical engineer and NASA astronaut. Selected by NASA in April 1996, Dr. Pettit reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. A veteran of three spaceflights, Dr. Pettit has logged more than 370 days in space and over 13 EVA (spacewalk) hours in 3 flights. Expedition 6 (November 23, 2002 to May 3, 2003) was his first spaceflight as NASA International Space Station Science Officer. On Expedition 30/31 (December 21, 2011 to July 1, 2012) he created the incredible Star Trails images by compositing a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the International Space Center. Dr. Pettit earned his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1983.
Space Editions | See All Editions
We're unabashedly into outer space: romantic notions of the great unknown, iconic and uplifting moments in history, how it shapes our vision of the future. These editions are the intersection of art and science, and it's a sight for sore eyes. Blast off into our curated collection of images from the NASA archive.
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