Star Trail Photos Taken from the International Space Station

By Jason Fitzpatrick on June 11th, 2012

While most people have seen a star trail photo or two, seeing a set of star trail photos taken from over 300 miles above the Earth’s surface is a treat.

Courtesy of Astronaut and Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit, the photos capture star trails from the vantage point of the International Space Station. He explains his technique:

My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.

Hit up the link below for the full Flickr set of the star trails.

ISS Star Trails [via Smithsonian Magazine]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/11/12
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