Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory Photo Ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical “skyscapes” that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph “A Sky Without Religious Boundaries Shows the ISS Above the Historic Old City of Jerusalem.”
The image shows the path of the International Space Station (ISS) crossing a sky free of any religious, cultural or ethnic boundaries above the beautiful and historic city of Jerusalem.
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981. Jerusalem is considered holy by the major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and is also the place where several important events in the life of Jesus took place. Divided into four quarters — The Jewish Quarter, The Armenian Quarter, The Christian Quarter and The Muslim Quarter — the city has been destroyed, captured and attacked several times over the course of its existence.
In the image, the crane in the foreground may serve as a reminder of our capacity as humans to recover or build major structures, especially when teamwork between different countries can be achieved in the name of science, progress and peace. An example of this is the most complex and advanced machine ever built, which is now orbiting planet Earth: the International Space Station, featured in the upper-left corner of the image, between the trails of the constellations of Cassiopeia and Ursa Major.
On the ground, the right side of the image shows the only part of Jerusalem that survived all attacks throughout history and that remains partially intact today: the Western Wall.
To create this image, I captured a sequence of 52 single shots with a Canon 6D digital camera and a 14-millimeter lens, with the aperture set to f/8, ISO set to 500 and an exposure time of 2 seconds. The ISS trail appears as a dashed line because the images were shot with the camera set to “sequence mode,” which allowed me to combine multiple exposures rather than capturing a single long exposure.
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