As they soar above Earth on the International Space Station, astronauts frequently train their cameras toward home, and their shots are stored on a massive archive of astronaut photos. Science educator James Drake took 600 such images and stitched them together into a movie, which you can watch below.
The movie starts in the Pacific Ocean and flies over North and South America before sunrise over Antarctica. The neuronal network of nighttime cities is marvelous to behold — not to mention the lightning storms off the southern coast of Mexico and into the Pacific.
It takes roughly a minute to fly from Vancouver Island to the southern portion of Chile. A real latitudinal arc on the ISS takes much longer, of course, but I like this fast view because it's somewhat humbling — this planet is not really that big. Plus, you get an appreciation for just how much if it is oceans.
Raw data was downloaded from the Gateway To Astronaut Photography of Earth, a Johnson Space Center project. Visit the site to see even more astronaut images, which should keep you sated until the ISS gets a pair of streaming video cameras sometime next year.
Amazing how on that small little planet there are these small little beings all living with both chaos and serenity all around them.
Unite lets not divide
Its amazing to watch in 1080P
Ahhhh, that was nice. Though there was some type of lava or something glowing all over the surface hmm, but the rest sure looks pretty.
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This is fun and enjoyable to see!!! Very cool!!!
incredible. especially how visible lightning is from space (at least, I assume all those bright blue flashes to be lightening)
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
that was awesome definitely liked the lightning
If I were ET I would surely think, "Dang! I need to check this place out!"
Light Pollution sure is beautiful.
I wonder what all the em from the lightning sounds like from a distant observer.
I can imagine them trying to decipher it into some kind of communication.
ALL the light you see in this image is WASTED energy... how many billions of dollars worth that could be used for cancer or aids research?
It's wasted energy because humans have no reason to point lights into the sky, humans need lights pointed at the ground.
Congrats! (humans have only themselves to blame)
It isn't wasted.
"It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in." (Isaiah 40:22)
I am a leaf on the breeze. It was fun to fly in out space. The video was really enjoyable! LOVE the lightning too.
An orbital sunrise is always an amazing thing. It happens every 90 minutes.
How is excessive light pollution not a waste of energy? Its a fact a lot of energy we use, especially in cities, is wasted in terms of too many lights, lights that put out too much light in certain directions, (like straight up)neon signs, etc. Those are total wastes of energy and contribute to how extremely bright certain places look.
yes i notice some very unusual anomalies in that clip. those flashing lights could be aliens.
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That is kind of surreal to watch. It almost reminds me of bio luminescent dark mycelium filaments permeating a substrate. Viewed in that light, it is kind of beautiful. Looking at the light and heat, I can see a vast amount of energy dissipating in to space. I have been looking at night time maps of Colorado since I was a kid. It has been interesting and a little disturbing to watch as the main metro areas of Ft. Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs slowly merge together. In 20 years there will be no separation between the three cities.