Elegant Figures

Odds & Ends: The Milky Way

September 21st, 2010 by Robert Simmon

While poking around the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth (tens of thousands of photos of Earth from space, dating back to the Mercury program) I found this photo of the Milky Way rising (setting?) above the Earth’s limb:

Taken from the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 18, 2010.

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12 Responses to “Odds & Ends: The Milky Way”

  1. Linnet Kerr says:

    I love this planet, this galaxy, this starry spacetime SO much, thank you for sharing this gorgeous photo♥

  2. S.Markanday says:

    Thanks for this ! many more young will be inspired.

  3. Amazing photo.Just imagine how big a circle the earth’s curvature can be,and those colours fringing the atmosphere with a greenish border,with a lot of muddy yellow within seems to be the dominent hue of the atmosphere,blending into the earthy land with some lakes and beyond its horizon stands the great milky way in all its glory.All this is very inspiring and thought provoking.

    K V S Krishna

  4. Dulce says:

    Thank you for sharing this dreamlike vision. I hope you keep on poking through the astronauts’ photos and come accross other gems.

  5. Mary K. Grimm Dyche says:

    sweet! <3

  6. Priscilla Ivester says:

    Beautiful! I wish every person could have the opportunity to see our fragile planet and it’s starry neighbors from this perspective.

  7. Robert Simmon says:

    Don’t worry, I have dozens.

  8. John Sillren says:

    What a wonderful world

  9. Peter Curia says:


  10. Elizabeth Scheliga says:


    I quite agree with those who wrote “what a wonderful world !”

  11. Steve Smith says:

    The greenish glow is the nighttime airglow that envelopes the earth at an altitude of about 90 km. The glow seen here is a mixture of two bright layers of gas, one composed of hydroxyl (OH) and the other atomic oxygen (O). As they each recombine the gases give off this faint nightglow. On rare occasions the nightglow can be seen from the ground at a dark, moonless site.