NASA astronaut Dan Burbank shared a matchless view of Comet Lovejoy from the International Space Station, showing the comet's magnificent tail from a vantage point high above the atmosphere. "I probably saw the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space, and that's saying an awful lot, because every day is filled with amazing things," he told Detroit's WDIV-TV in an interview.
Hundreds of photos, captured from an altitude of 240 miles, were assembled into the video you see here. You can see the comet rise from the horizon, shining through the green line of atmospheric airglow, and then fade away as the sunrise breaks out in brilliance. It's a view only three people can see with their own eyes — although that little list will rise to six on Friday when three more crewmates arrive on a Russian Soyuz craft.
Go full screen with the video, and after you're done feasting your eyes on Burbank's amazing view, treat yourself to these other video views:
- Lovely Lovejoy! Comet shot at sunrise
- PhotoBlog: The best of NASA's night lights
- See the world from outer space ... in 60 seconds
Alan Boyle is msnbc.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.