A Shooting Star in Space (NASA, International Space Station, 08/13/11)

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Astronaut Ron Garan, Expedition 28 flight engineer, tweeted this image from the International Space Station on Aug. 14 with the following caption: "What a 'Shooting Star' looks like from space, taken yesterday during Perseid Meteor Shower." The image was photographed from the orbiting complex on Aug. 13 when it was over an area of China approximately 400 kilometers to the northwest of Beijing. The rare photo opportunity came as no surprise since the Perseid Meteor Shower occurs every year in August. The meteors are particles that originate from the comet Swift-Tuttle along its orbital path; the comet's orbit is close enough for these particles to be swept up by the Earth's gravitational field each year. Green and dim yellow airglow appears as thin layers visible above the limb of the Earth, extending from image left to upper image right. Atoms and molecules above 50 kilometers in the atmosphere are excited by sunlight during the day, and then release this energy at night producing primarily green light observable from orbit. The sun is low on the horizon as it appears near part of one of the station's solar panel arrays at image upper right.

Image credit: NASA

Original image:

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More images of fireballs and meteors can be seen in our "Meteor Showers!" photoset:

dediraspi, Lights In The Dark, and 47 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Dr. Ilia 33 months ago | reply

    Wow. Fabulous shot

    Please tag photo with: That's Classy!

  2. Kooklamou - MA., USA 33 months ago | reply

    ...Another awe inspiring image!!! BIG smiles all around!!!!!!!!!

  3. Lights In The Dark 33 months ago | reply

    Stunning. ISS photo of the year!

  4. mardoqueo 33 months ago | reply

    that was close ...

  5. s.arrigoni 33 months ago | reply

    great photo!

  6. pauline.kehoe 33 months ago | reply

    Amazing capture.

  7. rhanelt 33 months ago | reply


  8. PharmieJim 33 months ago | reply

    very very cool

  9. Pier☯ * ON/OFF....VERY BUSY 32 months ago | reply

    Grazie per aver condiviso questo scatto con noi
    Thank you for sharing your picture with us.

    Visto / Seen in:

  10. dreamer@desh 32 months ago | reply

    brilliant shot

  11. Dan-xm 32 months ago | reply


  12. Jm Valde. 32 months ago | reply

    wooow. nice shot,...

  13. Realms(Nathan Williams) 32 months ago | reply

    What a wild and amazing vantage point to see that. Gives a whole new perspective.

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