Time-lapse video from ISS

This is pretty spectacular footage, an amazing combination of profound human impact on the planet, and vast spaces with no detectable human impact.

Time lapse sequences of photographs taken with a special low-light 4K-camera by the crew of expedition 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space | Fly Over | Nasa, ISS (via Making Light)


  1. I noticed that at about 3:45-3:49 a well defined orangish squiggle appears. The same squiggle (I think) appears at 4:37-4:39. It’s something in eastern asia … I think? Anyone know?

    1.  Rivers? Logging highways? Not sure why they would be lit or even lit bright enough to be seen from orbit.

    2. That’s the border between India and Pakistan. It uses the same type of illumination along the entire border, making it stand out.

    3. I believe you’re seeing the Nile basin, with Cairo/the delta at top, with Isreal/Palestine/Lebanon lighting the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean. 

  2. It’s images like these that really drive home for me what a thin slice of the planet we occupy.  We’re like ants living in the skin of an orange.  The irony of seeing this up against the various insanities that grip our species is very nearly physically painful.  To think that against a backdrop this wondrous and magnificent, we kill each other every day for petty reasons.  Or for no reason at all.  It’s obscene.  How can it even be the same species that built the space station?  When aliens visit one day, will they find naked savages scrabbling in the dirt for food, while the decaying husk of the ISS tumbles overhead?

  3. I say it was “other worldly” except…. it isn’t.

    By the way, does anyone know who did the soundtrack music.  That is some terrific ambient electronica.

  4. Seeing things like this makes me realize that we live in the future. That footage was taken from a space station that has been crewed for the last eleven years. Though there are empty spaces, you can see the lights of a city in almost every frame of the video. In some places, it’s cities as far as the eye can see. Wow.

  5. The lightning, the undulating aurorae, the faint airglow, the cities below.  Oh man, trancey stuff.  Time to hit the sack and dream big.

  6. Check out the 1:24 through 1:25 to the right of center of the frame. There appears to be a sprite shooting up from the atmosphere.

    1. Yeah, I think you are right!!! For anybody else trying to see it (it took quite a lot of going back and forth before I saw it), look at the atmosphere above the horizon, the purple part (it turns more purple at around 1:24). For me at 1:24 to 1:26 there is a orange-ish sprite shooting up (like a bullet hitting the purple part).

      Seriously good catch!!! I wonder if NASA has caught it? It might of course be just some video artefact, as for instance the starts look like they drag the atmosphere, too. But it sure looks like a sprite.

      A really nice video, thank you for posting it!!!

      1. I think they are associated with thunderstorms. Not sure about that.  There appears to be another around the 4:40 point. It’s even further to the right.

      2. The real name for those lights are “Blue Jets.” There are “Red Sprites” too.  they are associated with lightning.  

  7. Wow, I just fell in love. Where is this place? Can we go? Let’s build a rocketship and see if we can get there.

    (Now picturing myself as Steve Zissou piloting said rocketship with this music playing in the cabin, crazy beautiful planet looming up in front of us…because you’re all there with me).

  8. A profoundly moving video, but the only way I could watch it is with the speakers muted.  Ambient electronica?  Sounded like the mating call a drugged otherworldly cricket…awesome video none the less.

  9. love it, but i have a question to anyone who knows about optics or astronomy…

    Is that how curved the Earth actually appears from that altitude or is it the lens?

    t really makes the planet look like a tiny speck in that video.

  10. By the looks of things most of that “profound human impact on the planet” was caused by Hal Jordan messing around with that silly ring of his.

  11. The way the title  card is designed and fades in and out me thinks the video’s editor is a fan of House (the TV show).

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