Reid Wiseman, an astronaut currently aboard ISS, has been a highly active photographer, showing us all images that instill a sense of calm. With a full suite of technology at his fingertips, he’s been making images of the earth at all times of day, and his night images are particularly awe-inspiring.
Before the advent of DSLRs, Twitter and every piece of technology we hold dear, it took time before we could see photographs from space. The Blue Marble, one of the 20th century’s most iconic images, wasn’t seen for a few weeks at least. Now, we have the benefit of seeing images of our planet moments after they’re taken. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are publicly documenting their journey on Twitter, thanks in no small part to DSLRs, onboard internet, and a useful device called the NightPod.
What complicates night photography from the ISS is that the station orbits the earth at just over 4 mi/sec. That kind of speed doesn’t lend itself to slow shutter speeds. To remedy that problem, the European Space Agency developed a motorized tripod with Cosine, a Dutch measurement systems company. Dubbed NightPod, it compensates for ISS’s speed by tracking single points on the earth’s surface with data entered by the astronaut. This way, the subject is in focus, even with scarce light.
Wiseman has taken photos of city grids, natural landscapes, storms and natural phenomena. One of his most widely-shared images was of an aurora caused by geomagnetic storm that was a result of the sun’s coronal mass ejection interacting with the earth’s magnetic field. The image is beautiful as are all of the images Wiseman has taken and shared on Twitter.
Check out more images below.