Is This the Trippiest Image Ever Taken In Space? Most Probably

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This image made at the International Space Station is not your usual ISS image. No firing auroras. No gleaming cities. No fuming catastrophes or crispy deserts or psychedelic rivers or turquoise seas. It looks as if the ISS were about to jump into hyperspace.

I look at it and I'm expecting the rest of a huge spaceship to zoom over my head, like in the opening sequences of Alien or Star Wars' Episode IV.


The image was made by Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit, who composited it from 18 different shots:

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.


As Stanley Kubrick would say: we need more of this cray cray stuff! [Flickr]