The ISS is bathed in blue Earthshine as another dawn approaches

It may look like a science fiction film but it’s very much science reality: a view from the window of the International Space Station, taken on November 7 by astronaut Doug Wheelock, shows external structures lit by a cool blue light reflected off our planet – “Earthshine” – while the bright crescent of dawn blooms within the thin line of our atmosphere. Stars – the light from other suns billions and trillions of miles away – shine in the distance. It’s another stunning view of our world from 220 miles up, and through the “miracle of modern technology” we are able to share this view and many others like it as quickly as the images can be uploaded to the internet.

“I’ll never forget this place…seeing this makes the heart soar and the soul sing.”

– Douglas H. Wheelock, STS-120 Mission Astronaut

This was the subject of an article written yesterday by AP Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn, which discusses the relatively new ability of ISS astronauts to share their favorite pastime – Earth-gazing –  with the rest of us here on the ground via the station’s internet connection, installed in February. Marcia had contacted me over email earlier yesterday in regards to a comment I had left on another of Wheelock’s twitpic uploads and asked if I’d be up for participating in a quick phone interview for her article. Which I did, and she was nice enough to include a link back to my site here along with some of my statements about the images. As a result I have gained a lot of new readers over the past 24 hours, which is great! So thanks to Marcia for the article and the added publicity, and thanks to you for stopping by if you’re a new visitor here to LITD, and also thanks to Doug Wheelock for sharing his privileged perspective on our world on a daily basis and to Nancy at Universe Today for making it part of her morning post on Friday. (UT is one of my main sources for space news!)

And, of course, if you’re already a reader of my blog thanks for the continued support over the past year-and-ten-months (yes LITD will be turning 2 in February 2011!) I hope you’ve been enjoying the images, links and videos from around “our planetary backyard.” It really is a beautiful place, we’re lucky to be a part of it!

Image: NASA / Doug Wheelock. (Edited by J. Major.)


  1. I just wanted too say thank you!!!!!!! u will probably get critics but, none will overshadow this view where we truly live. keep it up as long as u can ciao


  2. Tonya says:

    Stunning images. Thanks so much for sharing!


    1. DJ Busby says:

      I look in awe and wonder at these pictures. They deeply move me, and I much appreciate you guys sharing them with the public. I posted today’s picture “Earthshine” on my blog today. I added a hyperlink directing to this page, so I’m hoping it will generate extra web traffic to your site.
      Much Respect!
      -DJ Busby
      here’s the link


  3. Corinna says:

    Hi Jason, Thanks so much for sharing all these wondrous pictures and your comments with us. I will obviously never get to see this first hand, but I can well imagine it must make the heart swell in the chest to view all this first hand, to experience what you experience in doing this. You must feel so lucky to do so, even though you would have had to work hard to get where you are. Not so much a job as a passionate vocation and something that you can enjoy too.
    Isn’t it wonderful too that we can enjoy all this via you guys because of the technology we have today. Amazing.
    Thank you so much.


Comments are closed.