Space Station Sunrise over the Aleutian Islands

Space Station Sunrise over the Aleutian Islands

Space Station Sunrise over the Aleutian Islands

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) took this panoramic photo looking northeast from a point half-way along the Aleutian Island chain on August 4th 2013. They were flying east at “the top of the orbit”—the northernmost latitude reached by the ISS (51.6 degrees north). If the Sun had been higher, western Alaska would have been visible in the foreground; instead, it lies on the dark side of the day-night line.

This image was taken about 15 minutes after local midnight in early August 2013. From their vantage point at 222 kilometers altitude, the astronauts were able to look northeast and see a near-midnight sunrise (when it was approaching noon in England). The rising Sun makes a red, teardrop-shaped reflection in the lower center of the image—perhaps a reflection within the camera lens, from the window frame, or from some item inside the spacecraft.

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.