Most of the imagery captured from the International Space Station shows Earth 250 miles below.
But occasionally the cameras point the other way, focusing instead on the vastness of space and the stars that fill it (perhaps this proposed giant telescope will one day explore them).
Just a few days before returning to Earth after a six-month stay aboard the orbiting outpost, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet posted a gorgeous video (below) showing precisely this sight, though Earth and part of the station manage to squeeze in, too, to offer some perspective.
“One more night with this magical view,” Pesquet said in a message accompanying the video. “Who could complain? I’ll miss our spaceship!”
Une nuit de plus avec cette vue sur la Voie lactée, qui s'en plaindrait
One more night with this magical view. Who could complain? I’ll miss our spaceship!#MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/ePnTA2QLLg
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 7, 2021
Last week Pesquet also posted several shots — possibly image captures from the video above — showing the same stunning scenery.
🌌⭐💫✨🌟 When you let your eyes adapt to the night, you start seeing millions of stars and it’s amazing. It really feels like flying on a spaceship into the cosmos… of wait… that’s what we do 😉 #MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/3TxqzOHxsx
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 3, 2021
In a message accompanying the photos in a post on Flickr, Pesquet said: “When you let your eyes adapt to the night, you start seeing millions of stars and it’s amazing.”
The astronaut, who is nearing the end of his second space voyage, added: “It really feels like flying on a spaceship into the cosmos … oh wait … that’s what we do 😉 You always tend to focus on Earth when you take pictures from the International Space Station, because it’s right there in front of you when you look out the window, in all its splendor and diversity, but there’s also a lot of beauty in the cosmos itself, it’s just harder to see (and to photograph) at first.”
Pesquet’s amazing Earth images have been dazzling his 1.3 million Twitter followers over the last six months, though despite the unique vantage point way above Earth, it’s harder than you might imagine to successfully capture such incredible photos.
We’ll certainly miss his impressive imagery, though hopefully one of the Crew-3 astronauts arriving at the space station this week will have an eye for a great shot, too.