A new day, from space

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 21 2011 2:34 PM

A new day, from space

Imagine sitting in a gossamer structure 100 meters long, 400 kilometers off the Earth's surface, and hurtling through space at nearly 30,000 kilometers per hour.

Now imagine facing east while doing so, looking out the window, and seeing this:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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ISS astronaut Ron Garan took this shot on Saturday morning, August 27, 2011, as the Sun rose over South America... of course, when you see the sunrise, it's always morning, right? Not necessarily, especially when you outrace the rotating Earth and see 18 such sunrises and sunsets every day*.

Around the same time Ron took this shot, I was getting up to start my own day, and find out just what the Sun can do given a couple of hours to heat up the desert near Yuma, Arizona. Why? Well, without giving anything away, that's a story that'll have to wait for a few more sunrises in the future.

[Note: I'm still waiting for more news about the reinstatement of launches to the ISS now that the Soyuz flaw has been found. If there's some metaphor to be had here with the picture above, feel free to consider it.]

Image credit: NASA



* <pedant>Actually, in the winter at extreme latitudes, the Sun doesn't rise until afternoon, and may set shortly thereafter. But that's if you're stuck here on the surface of the planet.</pedant>




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