Day and night in a single photo: Astronaut on the International Space Station captures stunning image of Earth’s ‘shadow line’
- NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch captured a remarkably detailed image of the Earth’s ‘shadow line’
- The view, shown from the International Space Station, captures our planet transitioning from day into night
- Astronauts aboard the space station are able to see as many as 15 or 16 sunrises and sunsets every day
NASA has released a remarkably detailed image showing a view of the Earth transitioning from day into night.
Sweeping views of the planet can be seen, as well as the Earth’s ‘shadow line,’ a rare sight wherein the division between night and day can be viewed by the naked eye.
The stunning photo was shot on Monday by astronaut Christina Hammock Koch aboard the International Space Station.
NASA has released a remarkably detailed image showing a view of the Earth transitioning from day into night. The stunning photograph was shot on Monday by astronaut Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station
Koch posted the photo from her personal Twitter account, noting that the out-of-this-world view can only been seen by astronauts on the ISS ‘a couple times a year.’
‘A couple times a year, the @Space_Station orbit happens to align over the day/night shadow line on Earth,’ Koch wrote.
‘We are continuously in sunlight, never passing into Earth’s shadow from the Sun, and the Earth below us is always in dawn or dusk.
‘Beautiful time to cloud watch. #nofilter,’ she added.
Astronauts aboard the ISS are used to spotting mesmerizing views of the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets.
Astronauts aboard the ISS (pictured) are used to spotting mesmerizing views of the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets. The ISS orbits roughly 220 miles above the Earth and completes one trip around our planet every 92 minutes, according to NASA
The International Space Station orbits roughly 220 miles above the Earth and completes one trip around our planet every 92 minutes, according to NASA.
It travels at an astonishing 17,200 miles per hour, which allows astronauts to be able to see as many as 15 or 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.
That amounts to tens of thousands of sunsets and sunrises viewed of the course of a year. For example, retired US astronaut Scott Kelly observed 10,944 sunrises and sets during his year in space.
A video shared by astronaut Ricky Arnold last year showed what it looks like to see the sun set and then rise again as the ISS orbits around Earth.
Koch, who launched to the space station on March 14 with colleague Nick Hague and Russian astronaut Alexey Ovchinin, will remain in orbit for 328 days, meaning she’ll likely see a lot of sunrises and sets.
She will return to Earth in February 2020 and could surpass the current record for longest single spaceflight by a woman.
Astronaut Christina Hammock Koch (left) took the photo of the Earth’s ‘shadow line’ aboard the ISS. Pictured, she and colleague Nick Hague (right) together with Russian Alexey Ovchinin successfully blasted off on a mission to the ISS
The current record holder, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, set the record with 288 days.
Koch joined Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Expedition 59 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos aboard the ISS, bringing the crew to a total of six members.
As part of Expedition 59, the crew members will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development.
Seventy-five of the investigations are new and have never been performed in space.
Some of the investigations are sponsored by the US National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximise its use for improving quality of life on Earth.
Highlights of upcoming investigations include devices that mimic the structure and function of human organs, free-flying robots, and an instrument to measure Earth’s distribution of carbon dioxide.
WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.
A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.
Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.