Space Station Astronauts Hangout with Earthlings (and Universe Today!)

by Nancy Atkinson on February 22, 2013

It’s not often that people on Earth get to hangout with astronauts in space, but today NASA held the first-ever Google Plus Hangout from the International Space Station. It was a live event, and if you aren’t familiar yet with G+ Hangouts (you really should be by now!) they allow people to chat face-to-face while thousands more can tune in to watch the conversation live on Google+ or YouTube. NASA took questions live from Twitter and G+, but they also took questions submitted previously via You Tube, and we were proud to see that Fraser’s question that he submitted via You Tube was included in the Hangout! You can see the question and astronaut Chris Hadfield’s reply at about 42:00 in the video above.

Fraser asked how being on the ISS and the special conditions it has (microgravity, harsh exposures, distant objects, weird lighting ) affect photography — and as you know we feature A LOT of ISS photography here on UT.

Hadfield said photography from orbit is quite complex, but the “weird” part about it is that space is so incredibly black and dark. The difficulty is having the dark background of space against the brightness of Earth and trying to balanace that. The advantage is being able to use the really big lenses and have them be weightless — no tripod needed!.

“The best part is,” Hadfield added, “even though we are not photographers by trade, we have really good professional photographers as trainers and a vantage point that is absolutely unparallelled.”

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield uses a camera to photograph the topography of a point on Earth from a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield uses a camera to photograph the topography of a point on Earth from a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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