Too Low They Build Who Build Beneath the Stars
koppie — Tue, 07/03/2012 - 00:46
a.k.a. "Procrastination, 21st-century style." I wanted a new skydome for my spinny cube (think: "computer desktop wallpaper"). I've got a space theme going on right now, and wanted a simple photograph of the Space Shuttle flying alone in orbit. Turns out there aren't that many photographs of this, probably because it was rare for the shuttle to be orbiting near another manned spacecraft. (Although not that rare; the shuttle docked with both Mir and the ISS. And, in later years, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts took dozens of photographs of the shuttle, but they were all closeups for the purpose of heat shield diagnostics.) Here are the only photos I could find:
Too . . . 1980's-ish
Wrong aspect ratio for a computer screen.
Gorgeous, but not the emotional effect I was looking for.
So I made my own:
It's exactly what I wanted: a clear, crisp image of the shuttle orbiting the Earth, with not too much mood lighting, but just enough to evoke my own feelings of wistfulness that the shuttle era is over. It was surprisingly easy, using Celestia and high-res models of Atlantis and the Earth. By the way, if you haven't checked out Celestia yet, you should. It's pretty amazing:
I've enclosed full-resolution copies of all four images. Which is your favorite?