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Photos: Spotting Satellites & Spaceships from Earth

Ships That Pass in the Night

Marco Langbroek

The sky is full of stars and galaxies, but eagle-eyed skywatchers can also spot satellites, space shuttles and stations from Earth too. Take a look at some of the best photos of spaceships caught on camera. NASA's space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station are seen in this time-lapsed image as they fly over Leiden, The Netherlands, just before the two spacecraft docked on March 17, 2009 during the STS-119 mission. The shuttle is the object slightly fainter and lower in the sky. Movement is from right to left

Moon and International Space Station

NASA

Multiple images of the International Space Station flying over the Houston area have been combined into one composite image to show the progress of the station as it crossed the face of the moon in the early evening of Jan. 4, 2012. [Full Story]

International Space Station over Central Florida

Astrophotographer Mike Killian caught the ISS on Jan. 5, 2012, and wrote: "ISS made a 6 minute pass over central FL last night, viewing conditions were perfect."

Phobos-Grunt Viewed from the Ground

ESA/Ralf Vandebergh, used with permission

Phobos-Grunt image taken from the ground on November 29, 2011, by amateur astronomer, Ralf Vandebergh, in The Netherlands.

Close-up Skywatcher Photo of Phobos-Grunt

Ralf Vandebergh

A close-up shot of Russia's troubled Phobos-Grunt probe, snapped by astrophotographer Ralf Vandebergh on Nov. 29, 2011.

Moon and Space Station

NASA

Multiple images of the International Space Station flying over the Houston area have been combined into one composite image to show the progress of the station as it crossed the face of the moon in the early evening of Jan. 4, 2012. [Full Story]

Above the Treetops

Marco Langbroek

Another view of NASA's space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station as they streak across the sky in this time-lapsed image as they fly over Leiden, The Netherlands, just before the two spacecraft docked on March 17, 2009 during the STS-119 mission. The shuttle is the object slightly fainter and lower in the sky. Movement is from right to left.

Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel)

NASA/Thierry Legault

In this tightly cropped image, the NASA space shuttle Atlantis is seen in silhouette during solar transit, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, from Florida. This image was made before Atlantis and the crew of STS-125 had grappled the Hubble Space Telescope.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

NASA/Thierry Legault

Here, the NASA space shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope are seen in silhouette, in a tightly cropped view, side by side during solar transit at 12:17 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 13, 2009, from west of Vero Beach, Florida. The two spaceships were at an altitude of 600 km and they zipped across the sun in only 0.8 seconds.

Just Passing By

NASA/Thierry Legault

The NASA space shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope are seen in silhouette, side by side in this solar transit image made at 12:17 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 13, 2009, from Vero Beach, Florida. The two spaceships were at an altitude of 600 km and they zipped across the sun in only 0.8 seconds. (Shuttle and Hubble are viewable in the lower left of the image.)

I Can See for Miles

Dirk Ewers

This image provided by amateur astronomer Dirk Ewers, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008 at around 17:44 GMT, using a 4,200-millimeter refractor telescope in Hofgeismar, Germany, shows the Space Shuttle, left, advancing on the international space station ISS in an earth orbit at some 350 kilometers.

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