Spacewalking Astronaut Seen From the Ground

Mar 22, 2011 7:00am

After days of fearsome bulletins, I suppose I needed a mental break from the crises in Japan and Libya, and Thierry Legault provided one.

Legault, you may recall, is a French photographer who takes remarkable pictures of spacecraft as they pass overhead.  He shoots other celestial objects — but galaxies aren't moving targets in the same way Steve Bowen was on Feb. 28.

Bowen was one of the two spacewalkers from the space shuttle Discovery who were working outside as the shuttle, docked to the space station, as it passed over Weimar, Germany.  Legault was at the ready.

He emailed me: "This is the first time that an astronaut is recorded from the ground with an amateur telescope!"  Click on the image to enlarge.

Bowen, in his bulky pressure suit and backpack, is nothing but a small white smudge in Legault's picture — but remember that he's about 220 miles above the camera, seen through the distorting effects of the atmosphere, as he, the shuttle and the station whiz by at 17,200 mph. The movie version is fun to watch too:

(Apologies if you saw a commercial before the video; it helps pay the bills.) Legault has more detail HERE. And his home page is HERE.

End of mental break.

(Image and time-lapse movie copyright Thierry Legault. Used with permission.)

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