3 October 2016 | A Room with a View

Cockpit view

Image credit: Christiaan van Heijst | Click to enlarge


Flying a jet, seeing the world, staying in 4- and 5-star hotels. We always knew being a pilot has its perks. But talking about a room with a view: although, at first glance, this may look like an image taken from the flightdeck of the Spaceshuttle, it was actually taken from the cockpit of a Boeing 747 flying over Northern Russia by senior first officer and photographer Christiaan van Heijst from Luxembourg.

The mystical, greenish glow above the horizon is known as a natural phenomenon called the Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights). These flowing lights are generated by solar winds (a stream of electrically charged particles (electrons, protons and alpha particles) released from the upper atmosphere of the sun) that collide with earth’s atmosphere.

Through the right glare-shield you can see the contours of the Milky Way, the very galaxy we live in. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy that has a diameter considered to be about 100,000–120,000 light-years and is estimated to contain 100-400 billion stars.

This image consists of two pictures taken right after each other. One to properly expose the interior of the cockpit and one to expose the outside view. They were then merged, resulting in an image the photographer actually saw with his own eyes.

Tomorrow’s EAPOD: Galactic Centre

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