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The ISS at night turns spooky

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has been silently drifting through the ISS while his colleagues sleep, photographing the eerie atmosphere.

Two empty space suits colluding in the dark. ESA/NASA

The International Space Station completes an orbit of Earth 16 times a day, seeing as many sunrises and sunsets. The term "night" as we know it has a different meaning there, yet the men and women aboard the station are human, and need their sleep. Because circadian rhythms respond to light, and the six astronauts generally sleep at the same time, there are times when the ISS has lights-out.

As it turns out, the space stations turns dark and spooky at night, looking like something out of horror sci-fi. European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been aboard the ISS for five months, takes pictures in his spare time. And, as it turns out, while his five colleagues lay sleeping in their pods, he has been drifting about in zero-G, capturing the eerie atmosphere of the space station at "night".

Check out some of the pics below, and visit the ESA website for the full set.

Green low-light makes the station look submerged. ESA/NASA
An empty space suit waiting in the Quest airlock for a spacewalk. "You wouldn't believe what I saw when I floated into our galley module in the dark of the night..." Gerst commented. ESA/NASA
Suddenly we're reminded just how alone those astronauts really are... ESA/NASA