independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Astronaut's eye view ... Dublin as you've never seen it

The Dublin coastline taken by astronaut Chris Hadfield

AN ASTRONAUT was inspired to take this incredible picture of Dublin through a gap in the clouds – even though he wasn't even sure which country he was pointing the camera at.

Canadian flight engineer Col Chris Hadfield (52) took the exceptional aerial shot of the Irish capital aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbited the Earth.

But the veteran astronaut, who will take over the command of the space station in March as part of his third mission in space, was left with egg on his face when he posted the image on his Twitter account. As he tweeted, he admitted he was unsure which "port town" he had photographed – or even which country it was in.

"Tonight's Finale: I'm not quite sure! Ireland, Wales or England, through a gap in the cloud," he tweeted.

But a flurry of tweets sent back up to space by Twitter users soon informed him he was looking down on Ireland's capital city.

Some had compared the picture with Google maps to confirm, while others simply recognised Dublin, albeit from an unusual angle.

"Dublin! Of course! The orientation fooled me, and I took the picture! Colour this astronaut embarrassed . . ." he tweeted.

The photograph shows with remarkable clarity the contours of Dublin Bay with Howth, Lambay Island, Dublin Port and the River Liffey as visible landmarks.

Col Hadfield, who grew up on a corn farm in a small rural town west of Toronto, will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin when he takes over command of the space station as part of NASA's Expedition 35.

The ISS is a joint venture with the USA, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.

The unique orbiting research lab circles the earth 16 times a day at a speed of 28,000kmh from an altitude of 370km above the Earth.

Irish Independent

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