PetaPixel

Star Trails Above, City Trails Below

NASA astronaut Don Pettit shot this beautiful long exposure photograph showing star trails and city trails from the International Space Station. The image was created by combining 18 separate long-exposure photographs. Pettit says,

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.

See those blue blotches that appear in a line on the face of our planet? Those are lightning flashes.

(via Discovery News)


Thanks for sending in the tip, Robert!


Image credit: Photograph by Don Pettit/NASA


 
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  • http://twitter.com/zak Zak Henry

    “However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image” In the ISS they have Nikon D3 and D2 series cameras. I have done 45 minute exposures at night with only one or two hot pixels, and that was with a D90. Either he is shooting at some odd ISO (why I wonder?) or the radiation in the ISS is really screwing with those cameras.

  • Warren

    Radiation is a big problem on the camera sensors. Even the newest cameras delivered to the station start showing signs early on. Don has experimented with different exposure times and the stacked 30 second exposures give the best results with least effects.

  • http://twitter.com/zak Zak Henry

    NASA should get Nikon to make some camera bodies out of lead instead of magnesium. Might help give some protection to the sensors, and apart from getting it up there, weight is no problem in space

  • Sanguo

    Getting it up there is the entire Problem. It’s expensive to add Weight to anything being sent up. I’d estimate it to be about $3000 per extra Pound. That’s besides the Price of the custom Cameras themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/DONKJOHNSON1 DON K JOHNSON

    if they used film it would not matter how long the exposure or the type of camera.
    Just need to put the film in a lead lined bag, no big weight problem.

  • MM

    Obvious that the earth is in the *center of the universe … stars go *around earth… and earth is *flat not moving but the iss is

  • http://www.facebook.com/rgigliotti Robert R Gigliotti

    You could use the bulb setting and lock the trigger with a remote for as long as you like.