Many of us have the notion that space is all dark. This further forces us to think: ‘how astronauts manage to carry out such extensive research on the International Space Station (ISS)?’ Well, space looks black as there is no medium to reflect the sunlight back towards your eye or your camera.
Jonathan Miller, an engineer at NASA, revealed on Quora, “The sky appears black in space as there is no air to scatter the molecules and produce the blue background that we have grown accustomed to.” However, the Sun is brighter out in the orbit than how it is seen on Earth’s surface.
With the plenty of light being emitted by the Sun and stars, it is easier to carry out day to day working in the ISS. Everything one looks at will appear bright because it is reflecting that light. And this is why the astronauts performing space walks often have to lower their outer visor (that is covered in a thin layer of gold), much like we sport sunglasses on a bright day down on Earth.
Another Quora user Chris Craddock says, “Space only looks black in photos because there is no atmosphere to scatter or absorb the sunlight. When there is something to “see” on the sunny side, they see it very clearly. When the camera is pointing off into space during the daytime, the background is black because the aperture is too small to see the stars.”
So the next time when you see a picture taken in Space with a dark background, you know the real science behind it.