Having successfully repaired/upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope in what was easily the most complicated in-space repair mission in history, the Shuttle and Hubble depart the company of one another.
Taken from NASA image caption: An STS-125 crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis captured this still image of the Hubble Space Telescope as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation on May 19, after having been linked together for the better part of a week. During the week five spacewalks were performed to complete the final servicing mission for the orbital observatory.
This image taken by Thierry Legault has been making the rounds lately. That bit of a speck seen on the Sun’s lower-right limb is the shuttle on the way to perform it’s current Hubble repair mission. The spacecraft itself can be seen in much greater detail at left and another image of The Shuttle with The Hubble Space Telescope nearby can also be seen on Thierry’s website here.
A quick google search of Thierry’s name reveals that he has been at this sort of thing before. Seen below is the Shuttle and The International Space Station as seen against The Sun in 2006. These transits happen in less than a second to a ground observer, so capturing this fleeting event is no easy task.
While astronaut Don Pettit was living aboard the International Space Station (ISS), he used some of his off-duty time to make time lapse videos of what he was seeing outside of the ISS window. There are a few examples of this work in this video from Science Friday (NPR). It begins with some beautiful aurora followed by a view of the solar panels rotating (they do this every 90 mins) and a simple look at the earth whirling about through a portal window.
See also this experiment involving candy corns.
In June 2007, the Space Shuttle crew (STS-117) visiting the International Space Station (ISS) observed spectacular polar mesospheric clouds over north-central Asia (top). The red-to-dark region at the bottom of the image is the dense part of the Earth’s atmosphere. For more like this see Earth From Space.
Since I have been posting so many images from STS-118 recently, I started rummaging through the Space Shuttle archives at the NASA website. One image stood apart from the rest as completely unreal. Even as a thumbnail, I assumed it was “space art” or some kind of promotional image used on a poster and almost didn’t even click on it. However, this is not a composite, collage or painting. It is actually an image of astronaut Joseph R. Tanner from STS-82 taken back in 1997.
Take a look at what can be seen in here. It is like the entire Shuttle program in one snapshot. There is the obvious… the sunburst, crescent Earth, back end of the Shuttle Orbiter itself and of course the astronaut. Take a closer look and there is more at a glance… In Tanner’s visor is the reflection of the other spacewalker Gregory J. Harbaugh who took the image and attached to Tanner’s arm is the small checklist of tasks that astronauts use on such difficult tasks such as spacewalks.
The original exposure was quite grainy and lots of color noise due to the low-light conditions. So it was cleaned up a bit color-wise and a duplicate of the image itself has been blurred and screened over the other. This gives the image a sort of “romantic” glow but more importantly helps reduce the noise while maintaining the image’s overall details.
On a note of interest, STS-82 also happens to be one of the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions which extended the life of that most valuable scientific program.
One of the best details of this one is that you can see an astronaut intentionally peeking out of the second window on the left. Seeing a person looking out the window reminds us how real it is. It’s like seeing a friend in a car go by… only our friend’s car is floating in the hostile vacuum of space.
Surely there are many excellent images to be had from previous Shuttle missions, but the images coming from STS-118 are really something to see. Perhaps one of the astronauts doing the EVAs (extra vehicular activities) has a degree in photography? At any rate, this site’s recent effort to give Earth it’s fair presence on this site has to take advantage of some of these fantastic images coming from NASA.
You have probably seen this image of the Earth before. This was the way the Earth appeared to the final astronauts to land on the moon in 1972. It has since become the quintessential Earth portrait, used more often than any other global image of the Earth. This is probably due to its beauty but also worth mentioning the relative rarity with which we get to see a full globe image taken of the Earth in one snapshot. Only missions and probes that leave the vicinity of the Earth are able to do this and some other popular Earth portraits have been taken by Galileo, Messenger… there is the famous Earth/Moon portrait taken by Voyager 1 and of course several from various Apollo missions.
Managed to make the more common wallpaper size 1024x768 for the 14 most recent wallpaper posts (started with set 05 images, 1-4 to come). Download zip file here. Some were not produced as they just didn’t translate so easily into the format. However, the opposite is true in some cases such as for this image of the Martian south pole. Its resolution was hopelessly low for the larger landscape format, so now with the smaller size it was possible (just barely) to get it posted as a wallpaper.
Included in the set for download are the images pictured at the top and for the sake of google search, here they are listed out:
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of CALLISTO at half view, moon of JUPITER
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of EARTH from APOLLO landing site
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of EUROPA, moon of JUPITER
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of JUPITER
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of MARS region of DEUTERONILUS (not shown)
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of MARS surface at HUSBAND HILL
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of MARS
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of PHOEBE, moon of SATURN
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of RHEA, moon of SATURN
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of SATURN, crescent view (not shown)
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of SATURN from above the NORTHERN POLE
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of SATURN globe
- 1024x768 Wallpaper of SPACE WALK
- 1024x768 Wallpaper portrait of TETHYS, moon of SATURN
Ed White is the first American space walker, which took place on Mercury 7. Sadly, he later died on the ground in the tragic Apollo 1 flash fire which took place during a test run. The accident took the lives of 3 astronauts before Apollo even got off the ground.
Note: I erroneously labeled this wallpaper as Mercury 7 and not Gemini 4. Image has been corrected.
Image Note: Some of the Earth image at the far left has been extended in Photoshop to fill out the space. The original image was square.