The View from the Night Sky

I like to go out some nights to watch the International Space Station (ISS) pass overhead. (NASA has a site to help track the ISS from almost anywhere on earth.) It looks like a very bright star or planet, always moving west to east, sometimes trending northward, other times southward.

What do astronauts see when they look out the window on the ISS? How about this, via the Astronomy Picture of the Day site:

Night on the Space Station

A docked Russian Soyuz spacecraft and parts of the ISS are visible in the foreground, apparently lit by a quarter moon. Above one of the solar panels of the Soyuz are the lights of New Orleans.

North (left) of New Orleans, a line of lights tracing central US highway I55 connects to Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, the lights follow the population centers, but not everyone lives on planet Earth all the time these days. November 2nd marked the first decade of continuous human presence in space on board the International Space Station.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.