Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit created this magnificent image by combining 18 long-exposure digital images taken with a camera mounted inside the International Space Station (ISS) on March 16, 2012. The streaks of psychedelic colors show the passage of cities below the ISS, airglow in Earth's atmosphere and the circling motion of stars. Even more amazing, the bright blotches lined up at the bottom of the picture are lightning flashes within storm clouds.
"My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes," said Pettit. "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."
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