Why aren’t the stars visible in pictures of astronauts on spacewalks?

We answer the question of why the stars are hidden in pictures taken from space


Light reflects off astronaut suits, Earth and the ISS, which makes the background sky seem black. Image credit: NASA

Asked by Duncan Sandiford

That’s a good observation! Typically, stars are not visible in photographs of astronauts on spacewalks because the light reflected off astronaut suits, the International Space Station, and even the Earth is so bright that it drowns out the dimmer light of the background stars. This is similar to trying to see the night sky stars from the middle of a city on Earth – the brighter lights from the buildings drown out the stars. But don’t worry; the stars are still there!

Astronauts often photograph the night sky away from the Sun’s glare, and with the right exposure settings on their camera, some stunning, crystal-clear starscapes can be captured from space.

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