Blue Waters Above and Starry Skies Below…Wait, What?

The moon is easing through its waning gibbous phase here in the mid-west.  Every night more and more of it disappears from sight – that is, if I am lucky enough to see it at all.  This is not the case for those onboard the ISS.

This picture was taken May 5th by astronaut André Kuipers. The image belongs to ESA/NASA – I take no credit for it.

This picture – featured on the European Space Agency’s Flickr account and website – is of a supermoon, taken by André Kuipers (a member of the Expedition 31 crew serving aboard the international space station).  The term supermoon is used to describe the point in the moon’s elliptical cycle in which it appears closest to Earth.  The best part about this picture?  Look above the moon…at the planet Earth.  Despite being a bit out of focus, it is still a fascinating part of this photo, and gives the viewer the unique opportunity to gaze at the night sky from a different perspective.  Thank you, André, for sharing your talents with us once again!

The Prompt That Keeps On…Er…Prompting

I have been participating in the Daily Blog photo challenge every week for several months now – and have loved every moment of it!  Every week (almost always on Friday), Daily Blog readers are challenged to discover new meanings to everyday things through the lens of their cameras – to perceive the world around them in different ways.  I responded to this week’s challenge with a photo of nature and technology occupying the same space: a picture of my mother’s lilac bush sharing the backyard with my family’s satellite dish.  Since posting this, I have caught myself seeing “two subjects” in everything around me.  Now when I look at pictures, I focus on the background every bit as much as the main subject, paying particular attention to how both subjects work in harmony to create beautiful pictures.  As a subscriber to several of NASA’s websites and missions, I receive daily emails to keep me abreast of NASA news via articles, videos, podcasts, and photos.

This image was taken on March 28th, 2012 by the International Space Station's Expedition 30 crew at an altitude of about two hundred and forty miles. One of the station's solar array panels can be seen on the left, while the city of Moscow occupies this photo's center. The horizon is suffused by riot of colors, a combination of the Aurora Borealis, airglow (light formed in the upper atmosphere by atoms and molecules via chemical processes), and daybreak.

This picture was posted on April 16th and tagged as the “Image of the Day for NASA” (I take no credit for this image: all credit goes to NASA).  Prior to this challenge, I would have looked at this picture and seen only the beauty of our planet – how the greens and blues of the Aurora Borealis naturally offset the bright, human-generated lights of Moscow.  The International Space Station’s solar array panels (on the left) would have caught my attention, but only in passing.  Now I look at this picture and not only do I gaze in awe at the sheer splendor of our planet, I find myself also giving an equal amount of attention to the technology that made this photo possible: the previously ignored solar array panels.  Without these panels, there is a good chance that there would not be an International Space Station (other methods of power being be too costly, bulky, or both to maintain or to have even justified the creation of the station in the first place), and my ability to see my planet in such a way would be severely limited.

Every week my perception shifts and evolves with every new photo challenge, altering the way I perceive the world around me.  I find myself anticipating each new challenge, excited at the chance to look at the ordinary and see something extraordinary.  What new theme will this week bring?  Only Friday will tell!