Yesterday, we reported on a NASA astronaut who tweeted a photo of what some people thought was a UFO. We said it was probably nothing more than a part of the International Space Station, caught in the field of view of the camera.
Not to brag, but NASA says we're right.
In the image above, the band of light appears to be hovering in space at a distance, but Tech Times and others suspected that it was, in fact, just part of the International Space Station itself.
In an email to Tech Times, NASA spokesperson Daniel G. Huot writes that the agency is inundated with questions about alleged UFO sightings.
"We don't typically provide explanations for each and every one that comes through (there are hundreds a month)," says Huot, "but this one happened to have a very easy explanation."
Huot, who works out of Houston's Johnson Space Center, explains that since this photo is taken through a window (like the vast majority of Space Station photos), it is very difficult to catch a photo that doesn't have some amount of light reflection. Think of taking a photo through your own window, and how difficult it is not to get tiny reflections of light or even of yourself, while taking the photo. The principle is no different in space.
In this case, the reflection in question is coming from the light shining through a window on the bottom of the Destiny Laboratory. You can see this in a photo taken during the same session, which clearly shows the same little band of light coming from a window on the ISS.
The window-that-isn't-an-alien even has its own name: The Destiny Science Window. According to NASA, the window opens to a lab equipped with "the highest quality optics ever flown on a human-occupied spacecraft." This technology is used to secure Earth observations and photography from the best view in the solar system. Unfortunately for X-Files fans, the lab isn't run by aliens.
So, we were wrong about it being the antenna we thought it was (which is, incidentally, right below this window), but were right about it not being aliens. Gambling against aliens is usually a safe bet.
See NASA's full email, below.
No 'UFOs' in the popular sense have been seen from the ISS. Reflections on the station's windows, lights from the spacecraft structure itself or lights from Earth commonly appear as artifacts in photos and videos from the orbiting laboratory, just as reflections often appear in pictures taken through windows here on Earth.
We don't typically provide explanations for each and every one that comes through (there are hundreds a month), but this one happened to have a very easy explanation. See the link below which is a photo taken during the same session that we posted recently. You can see the same light signature which is coming from the station itself (it is light from a window on the bottom of the Destiny Laboratory that's used for Earth observations/photography).
Original Kelly tweet: https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/666042034633883649
Photo: NASA | Flickr