March 27, 2011
On March 7, 2011 almost twelve hours after undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) for the last time, Space Shuttle Discovery and the orbital outpost made a spectacular final pass over Toronto, Canada. Discovery was the first vehicle to appear (extreme upper right) near the end of nautical twilight at approximately 23:55:35 UTC (6:55:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time), followed by the Space Station about 20 seconds later. The much bigger ISS easily attained a magnitude of -2.5 or about 2.5 times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star. Discovery, the most experienced of the shuttle orbiters with a cumulative flight time of 365 days, was officially retired when it returned to Earth two days later, on March 9. To view a video of this overpass click here.
Near the left edge of the image is the three-day-old crescent Moon. Note the earthshine on the unlit portion of the Moon. Earthshine is illumination from reflected light off the dayside of the Earth. This image was taken from Algonquin Island, part of the Toronto Island chain, 1.3 mi (2 km) south of downtown Toronto. The CN (Canadian National) Tower at 1,815 ft (553.3 m) is the centerpiece of the Toronto skyline.
Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D90; Lens: 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8; Focal Length: 11mm (35mm equivalent: 16mm); Aperture: f/9.0; Exposure Time: 6.000 s; ISO equiv: 640; Exposure Bias: -0.67 EV; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: Manual; Exposure Mode: Manual; White Balance: Manual; Light Source: Fine Weather; Flash Fired: No; Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.