"I asked myself exactly the same thing when editing the video.
I spent several time on Google Earth and I found it's something around the city of Zalantun (Inner Mongolia); in all likelihood, the red lights are mounted on huge power-line trusses or wind turbines.
For example, look at this coordinates for power-lines: 47.761390, 123.026970
And wind turbines here: 47.5641695, 122.9092991"
If you fly at 35,000 ft the horizon is at 221.3 miles and most of it is dense air. If you look directly downwards from ISS there is less than ten miles of thick atmosphere between the camera and the target.
If you do ray tracing from single light source with few objects and without effects that simulate atmosphere you simulate how the scene looks in vacuum.
In real life there are insects, and birds moving around. Wind blowing all sorts of things (leaves, blades of grass, trash, etc), etc. Individual strands of hair. Etc. All things we can't really reproduce with graphics.
Here there is just a sphere with a surface texture and some volumetric effects.
2) noise reduction making it look "plasticky"
3) attempts to increase dynamic range with filters that favor certain color hues
That would be my list of possible explanations as a photographer.
Or perhaps they’re launching so the vehicle will end up in orbit close to the ISS and not have to take so long, I believe they’re doing with this with manned launches so they can dock quite quickly.
> NASA confirmed on June 28 that if Progress MS-09 launches on July 9, it will attempt a super fast-tracked rendezvous with the Station, docking to the ISS just 3 hours (2 orbits) after launch - making it the fastest orbital rendezvous ever-attempted with the Station.
I've seen many videos of lift-offs etc (plus I'm huge Star Trek fan), but this one, made me hold my breath for a good 45 seconds (thank you yoga!)
For the longer approaches, the rocket launches with an offset of several (tens of) minutes of that instantaneous launch window (that mostly means you have a launch window of several minutes, i.e. short delays do not abort your launch), so the spacecraft comes up significantly „in front of“ or „behind“ the ISS. As with the fast approach, the spacecraft will still not launch into the same orbit (i.e. mostly lower and more elliptical than the ISS orbit). But this is more important for the slow approach: Due to orbit dynamics, the difference in orbit will make you „catch“ up with the other space vehicle over time – this is what is called „phasing“. When you’ve aligned the phases, you raise/align the spacecraft’s orbit to the ISS and are thus very close and in final approach.
If your phase is not well aligned at orbit insertion (i.e. just after the launch), you need to do more and thus longer phasing. I.e. the bottom line is that you need a high precision launch, precise navigation sensors & enough computational power on the rocket and spacecraft to be able to do a fast approach in 2-3 orbits, plus the ISS orbit must align very well with your launch site at launch time. It is simply more complex and thus more risky as the slow approach, but then again you are faster if everything works out perfectly. The safer bet is the slow approach, though, as it gives you more margin and more time to fix any issues that arise.
Watching it elicited in me a sense of awe and wonder at both human ingenuity and the almost unimaginable scale of the universe.
I love coming across postings like this one on HN!
If I left my home right now at that speed for San Francisco (~36 miles), I'd be ready to park in ~ 7 seconds.
Most of the universe operates at velocities and under conditions we can barely imagine.
> Let's imagine what it would look like if you were speed-walking across the Earth's surface at 8 km/s.
> To get a better sense of the pace at which you're traveling, let's use the beat of a song to mark the passage of time. suppose you started playing the 1988 song by The Proclaimers, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). That song is about 131.9 beats per minute, so imagine that with every beat of the song, you move forward more than two miles.
> In the time it took to sing the first line of the chorus, you could walk from the Statue of Liberty all the way to the Bronx.
"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
>When you compress a gas it heats up, and eventually the compression is so violent that that air heats up enough to start vaporizing the booster.
I don't think this is an accurate description of what happens on re-entry.
I don't know about vaporizing the booster though. It sure gets hot.
If we're being pedantic (and I don't mean that pejoratively), this would have been more correct if you'd left out "adiabatic". If gasdynamic compression heating is being induced by a fast-moving body in the open atmosphere, it's not strictly adiabatic.
If the ISS was much closer (which happens, when the crew finally connects), it wouldn't be a dot.