No, This Image Was Not Taken from the Space Station, But it Sure Looks Like It

by Nancy Atkinson on June 29, 2013

The Moon sets above the Continental Divide in Colorado from 86,000 feet. Taken June 27, 2013 on a meteorological balloon launched from Boulder, Colorado. Credit and copyright: Patrick Cullis.

The Moon sets above the Continental Divide in Colorado from 86,000 feet. Taken June 27, 2013 on a meteorological balloon launched from Boulder, Colorado. Credit and copyright: Patrick Cullis.

I love those images taken from the International Space Station that show the Moon rising or setting above Earth’s limb, and when I first saw this image posted on Universe Today’s Flickr Group page, I thought someone had randomly posted one of those images taken by an astronaut on the ISS. But then I saw it was taken by Patrick Cullis, one of our “regulars” in our featured astrophotography posts.

This very beautiful, crisp and clear image was taken from a meteorological balloon at 86,000 feet (26,200 meters) above Earth, and it was no fluke that Patrick captured the Moon setting above Earth — it was planned.

“Once I knew the weather was going to work out for a launch I really planned out what time it needed to happen for the Moon to show up in the frame,” Patrick said via Flickr. “Definitely got lucky since the camera is just swinging around randomly under the balloon.”

He calls this image “Divided Moon,” as it shows the Continental Divide in Colorado. “I-70 can be seen snaking up from the bottom center towards Georgetown (valley stretching from left to right,) Loveland Pass, and the Eisenhower Tunnel,” Patrick explained. If you click on the image above (or go here to see it on Flickr) you can see other landmarks labeled.

You can see more great shots from Patrick’s balloon and read more about it on his website.

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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