Astronaut Photographs Perseid Meteor... From Space

Astronaut Ron Garan captured a dazzling -- and unique -- view of a meteor flashing through the Earth's atmosphere.

Seeing regular updates from the International Space Station (ISS) is a special joy of mine, especially since the shuttle fleet was retired last month. As poignantly noted by Irene in "Atlantis' Final Reentry Seen From Space," although the shuttle is gone, the U.S. presence on the ISS certainly is not.

So, in a stunning photograph taken by NASA astronaut Ron Garan through a space station window, a single Perseid meteor was captured as the piece of comet dust slammed into the Earth's atmosphere.

"What a 'Shooting Star' looks like #FromSpace Taken yesterday during Perseids Meteor Shower..." Garan tweeted from his Twitter account on Sunday. Garan is approaching the end of his six-month stay aboard the orbital outpost after he was launched as part of the Expedition 27 crew in April.

Interestingly, Garan's meteor doesn't look much different from a meteor you would see from the ground, but there is a key difference: this meteor is falling away from the observer (Garan); whereas for us terrestrial folk, meteors fall toward us.

It must have been a magical sight; one that is likely often seen from orbit, but rarely captured in a photograph.

Image credit: Ron Garan/NASA