Brazil, at Night
image (678 Kb)
activity of astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space
Station is looking at the city lights below when the station crosses
the Earth's dark side. The lights outline the densest population
centers, coastlines and suggest cultural patterns. Taking these
low-light images using the equipment on board the station has been
challenging to the crewmembers because of the long exposure times
required. Astronaut Don Pettit, who left the station for Earth on
May 3, 2003, has pioneered an approach using a home-made tracking
system to track the ground as it moves relative to the station,
allowing him to acquire long-exposure images under low-light conditions.
Don's ingenious "Barn-Door Tracker" is a camera mount with a rigged
with a hand drill to create a motion
shows the sprawling urban footprint of Sao Paulo, Brazil, South
America's largest city of roughly 17 million people. The different
colors (pink, white and gray) define different types and generations
of streetlights. The port of Santos is also well defined by lights.
with a digital camera on April 12, 2003, and is provided by the
Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed
at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut
Photography of Earth.