Awesome Photo: Aurora, Airglow, City Lights and Shining Stars

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano shares a lot of fantastic photos taken from his privileged position 260 miles up aboard the Space Station, orbiting the planet 16 times a day. This is his latest, a stunning view of nighttime city lights spread out beneath a glowing dome of ghostly airglow and shimmering aurorae, with a backdrop of brightly shining stars. The dark silhouette of a solar array is in the foreground at right.

And in case you were wondering, yes, astronauts certainly can see stars while in space. A lot of them, in fact. (Except up there, they don’t twinkle… but they’re no less beautiful!)

“Every time we look into the sky and we admire the same stars, we share the same experience with all those who still know how to dream.”

– Luca Parmitano

Luca Parmitano is the first of ESA’s new generation of astronauts to fly into space. The current mission, Volare, is ESA’s fifth long-duration Space Station mission. During his six-month-long stay aboard the ISS, Luca has been conducting research for ESA and international partners as well as taken many photographs of our planet, sharing them on Twitter, Flickr, and the Volare mission blog.

See this and more photos taken by Luca on the Volare Flickr page here.

Image credit: ESA/NASA

Jason Major

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Recent Posts

Remember When Life was Found in a Martian Meteorite? Turns out, it was Just Geology

The Alan Hills meteorite is a part of history to Mars aficionados. It came from…

15 hours ago

A Moon Might Have Been Found Orbiting an Exoplanet

A new study by David Kipping and the Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler campaign has…

15 hours ago

A Star Passed too Close and Tore Out a Chunk of a Protoplanetary Disk

When it comes to observing protoplanetary disks, the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) is probably…

16 hours ago

Look Up and Watch Asteroid 1994 PC1 Fly Past Earth This Week

This week’s apparition of asteroid 1994 PC1 offers observers a chance to see a space…

20 hours ago

Astronomy Jargon 101: Aurorae

In this series we are exploring the weird and wonderful world of astronomy jargon! You’ll ooh…

22 hours ago

Messier 96 – the NGC 3368 Spiral Galaxy

Located in the Leo constellation, about 31 million light-years from Earth, is the double-sparred spiral…

1 day ago