ISS astronaut reveals how he captures all those amazing Earth photos

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The International Space Station (ISS) is almost as good as it gets when it comes to aerial photography.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet in the Observation Module of the International Space Station.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet in the Observation Module of the International Space Station. Thomas Pesquet
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It’s no surprise, then, that many astronauts visiting the orbiting outpost quickly make a beeline for the Cupola, the space station’s seven-window observation module that offers mesmerizing views of Earth 250 miles below. .

Current ISS resident Thomas Pesquet has emerged as one of the most accomplished shooters of the current crew, with French astronauts regularly sharing breathtaking Earth images on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.


But getting those incredible images isn’t just a matter of stepping out of the cupola and hoping for the best.

It’s been a while but sad #the Bahamas And #key West Just never be disheartened, every pass in the area seems to be changing colors and brightening up our day every time we see them. Bass in the blue tones, and if you want more, there’s a mapping as well:

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 21, 2021

Current astronauts typically use a Nikon D5 DSLR with a telephoto lens to photograph Earth, but as Pesquet pointed out in a recent online post, it can actually increase your chances of capturing a great image. Makes a lot of preparations for.

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“Having a good plan for a picture is half the job, and for us it starts with our navigation software,” said Astronauts, who arrived at the ISS in April. “The software shows us where it is day and night and even cloud cover predictions, but more importantly, it shows us future orbits.”

Pesquet said he also plans many of his images before leaving Earth, saving his time after arriving at the space station.

According to the astronaut, whose current mission ends in October 2021, many people “think that we can photograph a specific place on Earth on command, but it’s much more difficult than that. First, our orbits.” means that we only fly over specific areas from time to time. Secondly, even if we fly over the area of ​​interest, it may be at night, so there will be nothing to see unless it is Don’t be a city with bright streetlights.”

from space #los angeles Shine like the stars walking in her streets
City of stars, are you shining just for me?🎶 Los Angeles lights up like the stars in the night sky. #missionalpha #big picture

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 18, 2021

The two biggest barriers to capturing the desired shot are cloud cover and work schedules, with ISS astronauts spending most of their time working on science experiments.

“Often we go through areas when we’re working.” Pesquet explained. “We can’t leave what we’re doing at 14:35 just because we really want to photograph a city or a mountain or other wonder of the earth. Even if the stars align and we have time [and] Classes and Weather [are] On our side, we still need to find the target from 400 km above and set the camera settings correctly!”

Spring hasn’t covered the entire Northern Hemisphere – three examples in Asia where snow can still be found. I #missionalpha

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) May 16, 2021

From the small number of images we’ve posted on this page, it’s clear that Pesquet has an eye for a good photo, and his careful preparation pays off.

Andes again. This region between Peru, Chile, Bolivia is an infinite source of magical shapes and alluring colors. Do you prefer Burgundy Red Lake, or Neon Blue Amphitheater? #missionalpha

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 19, 2021

For more stunning space-based photography of Pesquet, check out this collection of images we featured earlier this year.

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