I’ve posted up long exposure photographs shot from orbit on many occasions but these are different. They were taken by NASA astronaut Don Pettit who took pictures of star trails, an aurora and flashes of lightning occurring across the surface of the Earth.
Here’s what he said about the 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.
If you want to see more photos from this series they’re all on Flickr.