an astronaut in the International Space Station (ISS) has posted a great video showing that Sun it never really sets.
Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency shared the images (below) in a tweet on Thursday, June 9. In addition to Earth and the sun, the video also shows the space station’s solar panels constantly adjusting to capture as much energy as possible from our distant star.
“In ‘high-beta’ seasons, like early May, the plane of our orbit is such that we are never shadowed by Earth, meaning the sun never really sets,” Cristoforetti wrote in the tweet.
— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) June 9, 2022
With the space station orbiting Earth at around 17,600 mph, the facility typically experiences 16 sunsets and sunrises each day. You can see this happening during live broadcasts of spacewalks, with astronauts having to deal with constantly changing lighting conditions during excursions that can last up to seven hours.
But, as Cristoforetti points out in his tweet, at certain times of the year, specifically within weeks of the summer solstice in both hemispheres, the season remains bathed in sunlight as it orbits Earth.
The phenomenon occurs when the orbital facility aligns with the so-called “termination line,” the location where the sun sets or rises on Earth.
Italian Cristoforetti arrived at the space station in April 2022 as part of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission, which is expected to last six months. His crewmates include NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Jessica Watkins, and Robert Hines.
As part of ISS Expedition 67, Crew-4 astronauts are working alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev.