Space programs have produced a lot of remarkable inventions and scientific discoveries, but one of the most incredible things they have given us is a new visual perspective on our world and universe. The photos astronauts, satellites and probes send back to Earth are sometimes remarkable and often stunning, both of which are true for a new video and photo set released by NASA. The photos and video show the comet Lovejoy rising up over the horizon, looking like something straight out of Contact or Armaggedon. Check out the video created from over 100 still photos taken from the International Space Station while it was orbiting Earth on December 21:
The shots were taken by International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank while documenting lightning storms over the Pacific. The comet Lovejoy (discovered on November 27) recently made a trip through the sun’s outer atmosphere that most scientists surmised it wouldn’t survive, which makes Burbank’s photos even more impressive. The December 15 jaunt brought the comet within 87,000 miles of the sun’s surface and cost it its tail, although it has since regained one thanks to some blow back by solar winds.
The experience was so impressive that even made an impression on the veteran astronaut who took the photos. Burbank called the sight “probably the most spectacular thing that you can imagine” and “the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in space.” When you live on the International Space Station, that’s saying something.