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.

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

Article Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

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.

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4 Responses

  1. says:

    I am always reminded about how small all of our problems truly are whenever I see a picture like this! The way that the clouds which tower over us seem fragile from space gives me a sense that nothing in our world is as omnipresent as it may seem! Thanks for the great photo!

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  3. William Sparrow says:

    What a beautiful photograph, thanks! I always love depictions of the “thin blue line” that makes possible the diversity of life on our wondrous planet.

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