In our age, we’ve grown accustomed to pictures of astronauts inside the International Space Station, as they float in zero-G and tend their science experiments. We’re even getting used to images of spacewalking astronauts. But this is something new.
An image of two astronauts on a spacewalk, taken from the ground.
The photographer is Sebastian Voltmer, an award-winning German photographer published in “Sky and Telescope” and numerous other publications. His astrophotography has been featured in exhibitions at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, the Carl Zeiss Planetarium in Stuttgart, and numerous other places.
Voltmer took the image on March 23rd. It shows American astronaut Raja Chari and German astronaut Matthias Maurer during a six-hour spacewalk to install a camera and conduct maintenance and upgrades.
“This image of the ISS pass was taken on March 23, 2022, under good seeing conditions through my C11 EdgeHD telescope from the hometown of ESA astronaut Dr. Matthias Maurer,” Voltmer said at Spaceweather.com. “I feel like I just made a once in a lifetime image 🙂 It’s probably the first ground-based picture showing two spacewalkers on the ISS at the same time.”
Voltmer explained that when he took the image, he quickly presented it to German media showing Matthias Maurer, and it went viral. Voltmer continued to work on the image to highlight both astronauts. Philip Smith, another well-known photographer, contacted Voltmer to tell him that he had created an image that also highlights Raja Chari, perched on the Canadarm 2 robotic arm. (Full disclosure: I’m Canadian. Yay, Canada!)
Voltmer’s image is the first ground-based image of two ISS astronauts spacewalking. But back in 2011, amateur photographer Ralph Vandebergh captured images of American astronaut Steve Bowen during a spacewalk. Vandebergh was also on the Canadarm 2 in that image. (Double-Yay, Canada!)