John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A satellite 200 miles above the ISS spied it flying over India.
The International Space Station provides some incredible downward views—pink/green auroras waving on the horizon, a red sprite crackling like an electric jellyfish—but rarely is it itself gazed down upon.
That changed this past weekend when the Landsat 8 satellite, soaring about 438 miles above earth, caught the station nearly 200 miles below as it whizzed over India. Mike Gartley, a scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, put together this animation from the satellite’s various spectral bands:
The astronauts were traveling at a bullet-beating speed of 17,100 mph but, however much you might want to imagine it, were not all shouting Wheeeee! There’s a strong decorum aboard the vessel… at least when its crew isn’t singing David Bowie or playing ping-pong with water globs.