European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.NASA/Bill Stafford, Josh Valcarcel and Norah MoranAn astronaut in space captured haunting photographs of Friday’s total lunar eclipse, also called a blood moon because of its eerie orange-red color.
German astronaut Alexander Gerst, a geophysicist and spaceflight veteran, launched toward the International Space Station (ISS) on June 6.
In the short time the European Space Agency astronaut has been in orbit, he’s done some stunning photography of Earth and the moon.
On Friday, Gerst watched and photographed the eclipse from his temporary home about 250 miles above the planet.
Here are a few pictures he snapped, plus some other share-worthy imagery he’s recorded over the past eight weeks.
On July 27, 2018 — when the moon was eclipsed by Earth’s shadow — Gerst was ready. The core of the planet’s shadow, called the umbra, colored the moon red because of the way Earth’s atmosphere refracts the sun’s light.
Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency
“Just took a photo of the lunar eclipse from the International Space Station. Tricky to capture,” Gerst said in a caption for this picture. “The slight hue of blue is actually the Earth’s atmosphere, just before the moon is ‘diving into it.'”
The moon was in totality (fully shadowed by the umbra) for nearly an hour and 43 minutes. Views during the partial eclipse, when the moon is in Earth’s outer shadow, or penumbra, were equally haunting.
“A partially eclipsed moon, with our neighbuoring [sic] planet in the background, just before diving into Earth’s atmosphere. Just magical,” Gerst said of this image.
But Gerst’s real work is running experiments in orbit. He’s even working with a floating robotic head called CIMON, short for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion.
The machine is powered by IBM Watson and will help guide Gerst through experiments while recording his every move.
Gerst is expected to land back on Earth in December 2018, according to NASA.