This gorgeous photo, taken from the International Space Station, looks a bit like a meteor straight out of Armageddon headed right for a major city. Fortunately that’s not the case, although you are indeed looking at a large, flaming object careening through the atmosphere and lighting up the clouds as it disintegrated during re-entry.
Originally released in September of 2013, the photo was taken by a stationary camera onboard the ISS and shows the Japanese HTV-4 cargo spacecraft burning up on re-entry as planned. The spacecraft had brought up supplies for the astronauts aboard the ISS, and after spending a month locked on to the orbiting station, it was time to let it go and… well… watch it burn.
You can download the full res file for yourself or learn more about the picture by clicking here.
As Space Shuttle Atlantis left the International Space Station to head back to Earth for the final time, one of the astronauts on the ISS captured this beautiful image of the shuttle’s glowing re-entry. Any guesses for what shutter speed this was shot at?
Station Crew Views Shuttle Landing (via Popular Science)
Update: Someone from the Photo Operations Group at the Johnson Space Center was kind enough to leave a comment with the answer: 1.6 seconds, f/2.8 at an ISO of 10000.
Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli recently captured some amazing one-of-a-kind photographs of the Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station from about 600 feet away using a Nikon D3x and 24-120mm lens. What’s interesting is the standard practice for returning to Earth: while the memory cards are brought down safely with the astronauts in a descent module, the camera gear is left in the orbital module, which falls into Earth’s atmosphere and burns up!
That’s standard practice for Soyuz re-entries: The astronauts take only what they need and shed the excess baggage to cut down on weight … even if that excess baggage retails for about $8,000, as was the case for the Nikon. [#]
Nespoli reportedly also brought a D2Xs up as well. Too bad they couldn’t just leave it on the Space Station and add to its Nikon stash…
(via Cosmic Log)
P.S. Nespoli shot 100,000 while in space, and has posted many of them to his Flickr page.