Click to embiggen. (All photos by Don Pettit, NASA.)

NASA astronaut Don Pettit takes pictures from the International Space Station, and they are mind-boggling. In the long-exposure photos, cities appear as streaks of light as the ISS orbits Earth at Ludicrous Speed. And those blotches? Those are lightning. Holy shit.

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Here’s what Pettit has to say about his process:

My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.

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There are more photos at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Flickr page.

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They’ve gone to plaid!