Earlier this week, NASA’s Earth Observatory shared a beautiful photo of the Bahamas. While the landscape is majestic and all, PetaPixel points out that the coolest thing about the photo wasn’t immediately evident.
The Bahamas’ Great Exuma is a series of cays, and if you look closely at one of the turquoise-green channels between one of the larger cays on the upper right-hand side of the photo, you’ll see a thin string of white. Zoom in on the large photo and you’ll see it: an aircraft, given away by its condensation trails.
Why is this remarkable? Consider that the ISS is moving 17,150 miles-per-hour above the surface of the Earth, while the plane below was probably moving at around 200 miles per hour or faster. Then consider that this photo was taken with a hand-held Nikon D4 digital camera by an astronaut floating 250 miles above the cays in the photo. Catching an object as small as a moving plane, clearly enough to identify it from almost 250 miles above.
We’ve seen a photographer shoot the ISS from the seat of an aeroplane. Now we’ve seen an astronaut aboard the ISS photograph a plane.