Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: “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, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.
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These amazing photos brought to mind many things, including these two thoughts:
1) The ISS is much more stable a platform than I thought possible. Perhaps Don deliberately timed the photos so the shutters would not be open during station-keeping, or other activities that would create vibrations, as with crew members bumping into stuff.
2) These photos should be considered for a Pulitzer