Japanese Astronaut Uses Custom Device To Create Light Painting Photos in Space

Koichi Wakata has a custom method for making zero-gravity light paintings

Astronaut Light Paintings
Astronaut Light Paintings

By now you're almost certainly aware of how amazing the images coming from the International Space Station can be. But, most of them have been captured looking out through the windows. Astronaut Koichi Wakata, however, has been making interesting photos inside the station itself.

This "Spiral Top" with LEDs makes an amazing art in zero-gravity. See photos of my next two tweets.  pic.twitter.com/EvU25l3Il8 — Koichi Wakata (@Astro_Wakata) January 6, 2014

His light paintings are made with a device called the Spiral Top, which was created by artist Takuro Osaka. As the name suggests, it's vaguely top-shaped and is designed to light up and spin around in zero-gravity to create dramatic patterns. If you're not familiar with this type of light painting, it's achieved by leaving your cameras shutter open for an extended period of time while a bright light source moves aroudn in front of the lens. It results in mesmerizing light trails.

軌道上芸術活動の一環として、逢坂卓郎氏が考案したSpiral Topを使った実験を行いました。宇宙は新たな芸術も創造する空間、無重量環境の可能性は無限大です。 pic.twitter.com/O5kxdk40hP — Koichi Wakata (@Astro_Wakata) January 6, 2014

The photos are cool, but the real exciting part is how much potential the idea has. Not only can you float the light source in mid-air, but the camera can float freely as well.

If you want to see more of his experiments, check out his Twitter and give him a follow.