NASA highlights amazing images of ISS shot from the ground

For the past two decades, the International Space Station (ISS) has orbited the Earth about 250 miles above our heads. The modular facility hosts a rotating crew of astronauts who come to experience life in a unique environment while also conducting scientific research in microgravity conditions.

Nearly 110 meters (356 feet) from end to end — about the same length as a football field including the end zones — the ISS moves through space at about 17,000 mph, completing 16 orbits per day, or about one every 90 minutes. .

If the ISS flies over your neighborhood on a clear night, its bright appearance and high speed make it easy to see with the naked eye. NASA offers tips for finding out when it’s headed your way so you can see it for yourself.

Some skywatchers take it one step further, focusing powerful lenses on the facility, capturing incredibly detailed shots of the station as it flies through the sky.

This week, NASA took to Twitter to highlight some of the best of these close-up images captured over the years by various photographers around the world, united in their fascination with the orbital outpost.

Wow! Check out this impressive #SpotTheStation photos of enthusiasts on the ground showing the orbiting lab up close and in detail.

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) February 9, 2022

They include this beautiful work by Chris Hooker of the Newbury Astro Society in the UK, where the image shows the whole of the station with its solar panels clearly identifiable on either side of the central habitable modules.

An absolutely beautiful image of #iss Captured at 12:31 this morning by our very own Chris Hooker. 10in Newton, manually tracked. Even more people who suffer from overexposed heat-resistant panels? #spotthestation @space station

— Newbury Astro Soc (@newburyastro) May 20, 2020

Steve Knight, also based in the UK, tweeted this impressive shot of the ISS taken early one evening in the spring of 2021.

Here is @Space station at 7:20 pm tonight by my 12in Dob in my garden. Tracked manually. #spotthestation #iss

— Steve Knight (@Steve_P_Knight) March 24, 2021

This great effort by Sylvain Weiller shows the station spinning a bit as it moves up through the air some 250 miles.

ISS from Earth by Sylvain Weiller 12.05.15 … … …@AstroSamantha @Space station #SpotTheStation

— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) Apr 13, 2015

US-based Roger Craig Smith used a Canon 7D Mark II with a 400mm lens and a 2X teleconverter to capture this image when the ISS flew over Los Angeles one evening a few years ago.

Another #SpotTheStation night!
Here is the @Space station of a Canon 7DmkII with 400mm and 2X extender as it passed LA tonight.

— Roger Craig Smith (@RogerCraigSmith) June 14, 2017

Finally, we have this stunner from II + II Padawan, whose shot is so clear it’s possible to identify both SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Russia’s Progress 79 cargo spacecraft.

the international @Space station coming phase from the 27th. Very clearly visible from this angle #SpaceX Crew-3 Dragon and progress 79.#astrophotography #ISS @zwoasi #Telescope @The solar system

— II+II Padawan (@Zs3ml3) February 1, 2022

To learn more about life on the International Space Station, watch these videos taken by astronauts who have visited the orbital outpost over the years.

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