Astronaut tweets photo of Calgary from International Space Station

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From 400 kilometres away, Calgary fits nicely in a single photo frame.

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U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir tweeted a shot of Cowtown on Monday afternoon from the International Space Station, wishing people below a good night.

Although the tweet came late afternoon for residents of Calgary, the ISS functions on Greenwich Mean Time, meaning it was nearly midnight for Meir.

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Meir suggested she had at least passed through Calgary on her way to Banff. According to her Wikipedia entry, she completed her post-doctoral work at the University of British Columbia.

The 42-year-old marine biologist and psychologist has been aboard the ISS since Sept. 25, 2019. In October she took part in the first all-female spacewalk to replace a faulty power unit.

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U.S. astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch make the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station in this still image from video on Oct. 18, 2019.
U.S. astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch make the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station in this still image from video on Oct. 18, 2019. Photo by NASA /via REUTERS

Meir’s photo shows at least one significant change from another time we got to see Calgary from the ISS.

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Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s photo from nearly seven years ago lacks a portion of the ring road in the city’s southeast. It also has a more distinctly orange hue. That’s because the city has changed its street lights from high-pressure sodium vapour lamps to more energy-efficient LEDs.

According to the city’s website, the replacement of 80,000 street lights cost $32 million up front but resulted in an ongoing savings of $5 million per year in energy costs.

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U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly captured Calgary midway through the street light transition. In his November 2015 photo, certain communities — mainly in the southwest — stand out with their new whiter LED street lights.

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The city could soon have a hometown astronaut snapping photos form the ISS. Calgary-born Jenny Sidey-Gibbons is set to graduate from NASA’s astronaut candidate program, qualifying her to fly in space. The graduation ceremony will be available for streaming on NASA TV beginning at 8:30 a.m. Calgary time on Friday.

Sidey-Gibbons and fellow Albertan Joshua Kutryk — the other Canadian astronaut set to graduate — may not be limited to low-earth orbit in their upcoming missions. The U.S. is ramping up its Artemis mission with an eye to going back to the moon. The Canadian Space Agency has signed on to take part in that potential mission.

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