Physics Question #9290

Josh, a 17 year old male from Gatineau asks on January 29, 2016,

A friend and I have been having an on going debate that I hope you can settle once and for all. My friend made the statement that the stars and the sun were invisible in space. I disagreed and showed him pictures of the sun taken from the ISS. He then claimed that all photos taken of stars and the sun in space have been doctored and showed me two YouTube videos of two different men - Peter Lindemann and Eric Dollard (both of whom are supposed to be experts in radiant energy) - both of whom claimed the sun and the stars were invisible in space and all photos taken of them in space were doctored. Anyway, my question is: Are the stars and the sun invisible in space?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on January 29, 2016

The answer is: Yes, stars and especially the sun are absolutely NOT invisible in space. That is: they are totally visible. Of course they are. How else would the Hubble space telescope give us so many amazing images? Think about it. Stars are not captured by ordinary camera snapshots at ANY time, on Earth or in space. To take pictures of stars you need to have a long exposure. Scroll down on this page and you’ll see an image of stars taken from the space station with a long exposure time.  

If you shot a picture with a long exposure while ALSO trying to take a picture of something ordinary, like someone’s face, or an astronaut on a space walk then the face or the astronaut would be very overexposed, just a bright splotch on the film, and nobody would like the picture, but yes, there would be stars in the black background. Nobody does long exposures when they are doing snapshots, which is what most space pictures are, but there are lots and lots of long exposure pictures taken in space by astronauts and they show tons and tons of stars. Here’s a long-exposure picture taken by astronaut Reid Wiseman.
Also, the sun is incredibly bright in space even to the point of dangerousness and that’s why space suits have special visors typically coated with a very thin reflective and protective gold foil film
Lindemann and Dollard are what we call “crackpots”. They spout complete and total nonsense. Please ignore people like this. Check out Lindemann’s website. He is a self-admitted university drop-out. He says he has pursued "self-directed education”. That means he has zero credentials and zero formal education. The stuff he says is totally made up in his own mind and is not based on reality. It is DEFINITELY NOT SCIENCE. 
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Reddit discussion on visibility of stars in space

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