A new image captures NASA astronauts on a spacewalk. From the ground?
A photographer in Germany, Sebastian Voltmer, made history of sorts when he captured NASA astronauts during a spacewalk, right from here on Earth. Voltmer immediately took to Twitter to share his achievement, which has since gone viral.
Yesterday I witnessed the #spacewalk shortly after sunset. Here comes a first photo. #ESA #astronaut Matthias Maurer was just "climbing" at this moment.— Dr. Sebastian Voltmer (@SeVoSpace) March 24, 2022
The rod-shaped structure (Canadarm2) is the robot arm.
Greetings from Matthias Maurers hometown - it was very exciting. #iss pic.twitter.com/39Q7YlG64u
Coincidentally, the spacewalk Voltmer captured was one of the longest spacewalks in recent history that saw NASA's Raja Chari and European Space Agency's Matthias Maurer perform extensive maintenance work on the International Space Station (ISS).
The photographer of the night skies
While it might sound like pure luck, this wasn't the first picture Voltmer took of the ISS. His Instagram handle has over 1,500 pictures of the Moon, the ISS, as well as the equipment he uses to capture the beauty of the night sky.
Even on March 23, when said picture was taken, Voltmer was going about his routine night photography that involved snapping images of the ISS from below. In a short video shared on Twitter, Voltmer also shows how he takes pictures of the space station using a telescope in his backyard.
On the night of March 23, Voltmer was in Sankt Wendel in Germany, Maurer's hometown. On his Instagram, Voltmer claims he met Maurer over three years ago and even produced a song for his ISS mission. So, Voltmer took to Twitter to announce his accomplishment, which instantly became viral.
On top of that, Voltmer believes his image has also managed to capture the new camera that was installed and SpaceX's Dragon capsule docked at the ISS, worthy of mentioning.
Help from a buddy
More than two days after the Twitter post, another space photographer, Phillip Smith, contacted Voltmer about the second astronaut in the image. Like Voltmer, Smith too is keenly interested in the ISS, as Voltmer explained on his Instagram, and Smith even took the pains to create a combined image using NASA's live stream of the spacewalk and Voltmer's image.
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With the probability of this image being the first to have captured two simultaneous spacewalking astronauts from Earth, Voltmer believes he may have just captured a once-in-a-lifetime image.
For space photography enthusiasts out there, Voltmer used a Celestron 11-inch EdgeHD telescope, a GM2000 mount, and an ASI290 planetary camera to get the shot, Space.com reported.