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Astronaut explains mystery of ‘bright dot’ as seen on earth from space

“Intriguing sight! A bright dot in the Negev desert…” tweeted European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

August 27, 2022 / 12:51 PM IST
A bright dot in the Negev Desert of Israel (Image credit: AstroSamantha/Twitter)

A bright dot in the Negev Desert of Israel (Image credit: AstroSamantha/Twitter)


An astronaut aboard the International Space Station has shared the intriguing sight of a bright dot shining in the middle of a desert on Earth.

While astronauts in space are privy to glittering city lights in the nighttime, it is much rarer to see spots of light above the Earth during the day. When European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, 45, noticed such a sight, she took to Twitter to share pictures and explain a bit about its origins.

“Intriguing sight! A bright dot in the Negev desert…” the Italian astronaut tweeted Thursday. “So unusual to see human-made lights in day passes!

“It’s a concentrated solar power plant, one of the technologies to get renewable energy from the Sun. With one of the world’s tallest solar power towers!” she explained.

The bright dot, per Cristoforetti’s explanation, was because of the Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station, which uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight to an 820-feet-tall tower in the Negev desert of Israel. This tower is considered one of the world’s tallest solar power towers.

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The ESA astronaut’s tweet, with its stunning view of the Earth from space, has been widely shared on the microblogging platform, racking up thousands of ‘likes’ in the process. Cristoforetti also added the hashtag #MissionMinerva to her post.

Minerva is the name of Cristoforetti's second expedition to the International Space Station. She first flew to the Station in 2014 for Mission Futura.
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