At 67, Don Pettit is NASA’s oldest lively astronaut. Throughout three journeys to the Worldwide House Station (ISS) — in 2002, 2008, and 2011 — Pettit earned a status as a extremely expert photographer, creating extraordinary photographs of the ISS, Earth, and past.

Pettit, who describes himself as “an engineer by education, a scientist by career, and an explorer by coronary heart,” continues to share his superb photos on Twitter and Instagram, wowing his many followers on the social media platforms.

Try this one, for instance, captured throughout ISS Expedition 30, a six-month mission that started in December 2011. Shared on Twitter on Sunday, the picture options star trails over Earth.

One other of my favourite star trails. These usually are 15-30 stacked shorter exposures yielding a complete publicity of 20-Half-hour. The darkest a part of orbital night time lasts about Half-hour, so that’s the longest efficient time publicity I could make.
Taken throughout Expedition-30.

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) January 15, 2023

One other exceptional effort, shared just some days in the past, exhibits mangrove forests off the coast of India. “Sunlit, specular photo voltaic reflections from the floor of water, give an intense spot of sunshine that not solely differentiates the place water is and isn’t, but additionally can present floor ripples attributable to floor movement,” Pettit says in a remark accompanying the picture.

Sunlit, specular photo voltaic reflections from the floor of water, give an intense spot of sunshine that not solely differentiates the place water is and isn’t, but additionally can present floor ripples attributable to floor movement. Right here proven are mangrove forests off the coast of India.

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) January 11, 2023

In one other beautiful instance of his picture abilities, this seize exhibits a sundown from throughout the house station’s Cupola, a seven-window module from the place many visiting ISS astronauts take their Earth photographs.

Sundown on orbit taken from the @Space_Station Cupola window: it takes 7 ½ seconds for the disk of the solar to slide under the horizon. It goes from vibrant daytime lighting to darkish night time lighting in about twice this time, and as such there is no such thing as a prolonged twilight on orbit.

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) January 8, 2023

One other magnificence, this time displaying an erupting volcano (in close to infrared) in Argentina’s south Patagonia area. Taken by Pettit throughout his most up-to-date ISS mission, the magenta areas present wholesome forests, whereas the grey areas point out the place the eruption destroyed the environment.

Erupting volcano in close to infrared and visual imagery (in feedback), south Patagonia area, #Argentina. The magenta areas present wholesome forests, the grey areas present the place the eruption has decimated the environment. Taken from @Space_Station on my earlier mission.

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) December 13, 2022

Pettit says that cities at night time are one in every of his favourite sights to seize. The one under exhibits Spain and Portugal, with the intense lights of Madrid and Lisbon, amongst many different city areas, clearly seen.

And right here’s one other stunner from the Cupola. The lengthy publicity causes metropolis lights some 250 miles under to look as trails.

Fish-eye lens long-exposure view of the Earth from the Cupola, aboard the @iss. Under, metropolis lights movement as orange streaks, and faint star trails that present the Earth's rotation are seen within the decrease left. #astrophotography can discover thrilling methods to mix each science and artwork!

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) September 11, 2022

And eventually, right here we see Pettit in motion, switching quickly between an infrared digital camera and a normal-visible digital camera utilizing a small rig that he constructed. Right here, the NASA astronaut is taking pictures by a window on the Russian service module relatively than from the Cupola.

My twin Ir/vis digital camera system in motion. Close to-simo photographs taken by "floating" the digital camera. Audio is precise within the Russian Service module.

— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) December 18, 2022

You should definitely try Pettit’s Twitter account or Instagram feed for extra examples of his work.

One other astronaut to have made an affect together with his pictures is Thomas Pesquet of the European House Company. Throughout two ISS missions — the newest one in 2021 — Pesquet managed to seize many lovely photographs of Earth, although as he as soon as defined, getting these pictures required a lot preparation.

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