ISS Astronaut Explains ‘Intriguing Sight’ of Bright Dot on Earth

When astronauts look down at Earth from the International Space Station at night time, they usually see glittering lights marking cities, boats and different human endeavors. But day passes are a distinct story, which is why European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti identified a wierd daylight sight of a vibrant dot within the desert.

“Intriguing sight! A bright dot in the Negev desert… so unusual to see human-made lights in day passes,” Cristoforetti tweeted on Thursday, posting three images exhibiting a distant white speck towards a brown panorama.


As common, it is not aliens. “It’s a concentrated solar power plant, one of the technologies to get renewable energy from the sun. With one of the world’s tallest solar power towers,” Cristoforetti defined.

The Negev desert in Israel is residence to the Ashalim photo voltaic thermal energy station, which makes use of a shimmering sea of mirrors to pay attention daylight to a tower that stands about 820 toes (250 meters) excessive. It’s sufficiently big to create the noticeable dot of sunshine Cristoforetti noticed from the station. Here’s what it appears like from a little bit nearer to the bottom:

This solar energy station consists of greater than 50,000 mirrors and a big central tower.


The area station crew will get loads of alternatives to look at Earth in each daylight and at midnight. They expertise 16 sunrises and sunsets every day as they cruise round in orbit. When they don’t seem to be busy with station upkeep or experiments, astronauts take pleasure in photographing the sights under, whether or not it is historic structure just like the pyramids or a modern-day high-tech energy station. 

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