Don Pettit/NASA

Have you seen the amazingly beautiful photos taken by astronaut Don Pettit? Shot between April and June, the breathtaking images are taken 240 miles in space. Pettit, who has a Flicker page, calls them “star trail” images because they chart the paths of stars and earthlights over brief intervals.

Don Pettit/NASA

In his words: “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.”

Don Pettit/NASA

Not only are the images stunning—they’re also reminiscent of some recent (and not so recent) sci fi films. Don’t you agree?
“Prometheus,” 2012

“Tron Legacy,” 2010

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The original “Tron,” 1982
“Star Wars,” 1980

Published June 15, 2012 at