Dan Burbank Sees Dazzling Comet From Space Station

International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank captured spectacular imagery of Comet Lovejoy from about 240 miles above the Earth’s horizon on Wednesday, December 21, 2011. The amazing images show comet Lovejoy, which survived a trip through the sun’s atmosphere last week. According to Burbank it was the most amazing thing he have ever seen in space. Burbank took about 100 photographs of comet Lovejoy as it rose above Earth at night on December 21. At the time, the space station was sailing 240 miles (386 kilometers) above Tasmania. Then the long, bright tail of the comet began rising up from the Earth‘s horizon. Burbank said that he had no idea what it was, it was a long green glowing arc.

It turns out that it ended up being a comet. Burbank is in the middle of a six-month mission to the International Space Station. He leads a three-man crew (two Russian cosmonauts round out the team) and is preparing to welcome three more astronauts on Friday (December 23). A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying the new crewmembers launched on Wednesday.