ALERT: new spectacular Video: "ISS Image Frontier - making the invisible visible" - with Dr. Don Pettit / NASA Astronaut! vimeo.com/61083440 !
--- Do you remember 1982's "TRON" movie? The plot: A computer programmer (epic: Jeff Bridges) is digitized inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out. I loved the light cycle races and strange solar wind ships...
Back in the real word the ISS is in a way one of these solar ships, constantly rotating around us. A tiny white spot, as it can be seen racing over the sky from time to time, when illuminated by the sunset (and sunrise ;).
This Video was achived by "stacking" image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station (see also fragileoasis.org/blog/2012/3/on-the-trails-of-stars/). These "stacks" create the Star Trails, but furthermore make interesting patterns visible. For example lightning corridors within clouds, but they also show occasional satellite tracks (or Iridium Flashes) as well as meteors - patterns that interrupt the main Star Trails, and thus are immediately visible.
The many oversaturated hot pixels in some of the scenes are the inevitable result of ultrahigh ISO settings the Nikon D3s in ISS-use are pushed to for keeping exposure times short by all means (owed to the dramatic speed the ISS travels). As there are no dark frames or RAW data currently available, hot pixels are not easy to remove.
After the initial stacking, all images have been sequenced with Apple Motion and the Video cut and edited with Final Cut Pro X. Stacking done with StarStaX, get it here: markus-enzweiler.de/software/software.html
This Video would also not have been possible without that great minimal soundtrack "Eileen" by Lee Rosevere (members.shaw.ca/happypuppyrecords/index.html) that totally nailed the mood, as well as a short clip of "Window #3" by Two Bicycles (freemusicarchive.org/music/Two_Bicycles/Beko_Crash_Symbols_1/07_Window_3). VIMEO MUSIC STORE ROCKS!
All sequences and images courtesy "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth", Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center, eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/
Closing sequence © Christoph Malin / ESO.org / filmed at Cerro Paranal.
Thanks a lot to my favourite bad Astronomer, Phil Plait at BadAstronomy for first posting the film (blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/10/16/my-god-its-full-of-star-trails/) and many many thanks to Vimeo for the Staff Pick!
A truckload of thanks go out to NASA astronaut Don Pettit (petapixel.com/2012/06/25/astronaut-don-pettit-floating-with-his-huge-camera-collection-on-the-iss/) and his colleagues for taking these images, and making films like this one reality!
Finally, please also be aware of the growing issue of light pollution (plightwithlight.org/index.php?id=49&L=1) one can see in many of these scenes! Support IDA (darksky.org) on their challenge to preserve the night sky for us and our children, on reducing energy waste! And don't forget, it is your tax money that lights up the sky!
Oh, and visit my friends at the UNESCO Project TWAN (twanight.org) for some of the coolest nightsky images and videos on our planet! One people, one sky!
Always believe in your dreams and make it possible!
All the best,
PS: At about 1:42 you see Comet "Lovejoy" rising...
PS2: Be sure to check out my other Movies:
"Astronomer's Paradise", vimeo.com/36972668 - featured on National Geographic
"The Island - Teaser", vimeo.com/27539860 - featured on NG
"Urban Mountain Sky", vimeo.com/40969904 - featured on Discovery Channel
"Black Hole Sun", vimeo.com/24149087, featured on NG
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