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Photos: Exquisite Star Trails Captured by Astronaut Don Pettit

Colorful Star Trails Seen From the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. He writes: “My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible…. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software … " Image taken May 11, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS in Orange

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken May 11, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken April 5, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS Swirls

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken May 11, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken May 5, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS Cupola

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken April 5, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken April 5, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken April 5, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken May 17, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken May 17, 2012.

Star Trails Seen from the ISS

Don Pettit

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit took photos of star trails, terrestrial lights, airglow and auroras while aboard the International Space Station. Image taken April 5, 2012.

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Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.