ISS Above Vineyards of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve

December 18, 2015

ISS-HerdadeEsporaoIMG_5970-5980-net (1)

Photographer: Miguel Claro 
Summary Authors: Miguel Claro; Jim Foster

The Earth is orbited by over 2,000 satellites. Most appear faint and fixed in brightness as they transit the nighttime sky. However, the International Space Station (ISS) is remarkably bright because of its huge size, about the length of a football field, and its low altitude orbit, averaging about 250 mi (400 km) above the Earth's surface. The ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, moving at a speed of about 17,400 mph (28,000 kmph).
The image above was captured looking up over one of the vineyards of Herdade do Esporão, a renowned Portuguese wine producer. These vineyards are part of the approximately 1160 sq mi (3000 sq km) Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, in eastern Portugal. Note that the lights on the horizon are urban areas along Portugal's Atlantic coast. Photo taken on June 18, 2015.