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Astronaut Chris Hadfield interview

  1. Jan 14, 2014 #1
    I was reading an interview on NPR with Cris Hadfield, recently retired Canadian astronaut, who has performed EVAs from both a shuttle and from the ISS. His words seem quite unequivocal, that space is an endless blackness in all directions. Am I to take his words at face value?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2014 #2


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    He doesn't say blackness in all directions. What he says is that when you have a very bright object on your right, the sky on the left looks extra black.
  4. Jan 14, 2014 #3
  5. Jan 18, 2014 #4
    He doesn't?

    "it's the whole bottomless black of the universe and it goes in all directions"

    I think you are putting words in his mouth that don't belong. Astronauts have probably the best vision of anyone, yet from my own experiments, it takes less than 5 seconds after blinding myself with a flashlight for the stars to be visible again, and I'm in an area of poor star visibility due to prevailing marine air conditions, and even without my glasses on. For a person person with normal eyesight, the pupillary light reflex speed is initially pretty fast, both for constriction and dilation, so long dark adaptation time is only required to see REALLY dim objects. I think Mr Hadfield would have mentioned if he had any circumstances that prevented him seeing the satrs, a dark visor, sun in his eyes, dark adaptation time.
    He also wonders about "our planet and how it reacts with the energy from the sun and how our magnetic field works and how the upper atmosphere works", so he has given this some serious consideration. If he can not see stars within a few seconds while looking away from a bright Earth, and does not state that this was due to a specific reason, then I am puzzled, and would really like him to clarify his statement. If the stars are not easily visible from orbit, but are from Earth, then there is something very much amiss with our models of how light works, which has some very serious implications indeed.
  6. Jan 18, 2014 #5

    D H

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    He doesn't.

    You intentionally left out a key part of that quote. He said "when you look left, it's the whole bottomless black of the universe and it goes in all directions."

    What's to the right? The Earth. It fills almost half the sky at the altitude of the ISS.

    You are the one putting words in his mouth and you are speculating about those words you put in his mouth. Stop that.

    The astronauts see the stars from the ISS.
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