JAW DROPPING Space Station time lapse!

By Phil Plait | November 13, 2011 9:59 am

Unless you are actively giving CPR to an accident victim at this very moment, drop whatever you are doing and watch this stunning, mind-blowing time lapse video of the Earth at night, taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station:

Holy. Haleakala. Make sure that’s set to HD and make it full screen.

The video, taken by astronauts and edited by Michael König, was from a high-resolution camera with low-light abilities, so it can see faint sources of light. The footage was all taken from August to October 2011.

I’m so overwhelmed by the beauty and coolness of this video I’m not sure which part I like best! The cities streaming by underneath; the instantly recognizable outlines of familiar places like the Great Lakes or the boot of Italy; the incredible flickering thunderstorms — giving you an understanding that there are always thousands of such storms all over the planet at any one time; the incredible 3D view of the green and red aurorae which you can actually see as towering structures dozens or even hundreds kilometers in height; the stars rising and setting and spinning over the horizon; the reflection of the Moon on the Earth below following along our point of view at 2:50 into the footage; or the thin glowing arc above the horizon: airglow, caused by molecules in the upper atmosphere slowly emitting light as they release energy accumulated during the day.

It’s all fantastic.

There have been plenty of beautiful time lapse videos of the Earth from the ISS — most notably, one from September — but this sets a new standard. Not the least of which because it’s so smooth; the sense of motion, the sense of flying, is overpowering. But the sheer magnificence of the entire video is simply incredible.

Credit: NASA, Michael König, who used photos from NASA’s Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth site.

Related posts:

Flying around the Earth
A puzzling planet picture from the ISS (and the followup post)
Southern lights greet ISS and Atlantis
Another jaw-dropping time lapse video: Tempest

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (131)

Links to this Post

  1. JAW DROPPING Space Station time lapse! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | Secularity (under construction) | November 13, 2011
  2. How cool is this? - PPRuNe Forums | November 13, 2011
  3. Instant WORLD Tour for FREE! « Whoa. Wanders? Wonders! | November 13, 2011
  4. JAW DROPPING Space Station time lapse! « Ashton Technology Blog | November 13, 2011
  5. Here’s Some Wow-Inducing Time Lapse Video of Earth at Night « Nerdist | November 13, 2011
  6. Compilation de la Terre en timelapse depuis l’espace | La boite verte | November 14, 2011
  7. Jaw-Dropping Video of Earth at Night from the ISS | November 14, 2011
  8. Morning Links | The Agitator | November 14, 2011
  9. Another AMAZING Space Station Timelapse — with Aurora « Ye Olde Soapbox | November 14, 2011
  10. Time Lapse View from Space of the Earth, Fly Over | boy&horse | November 14, 2011
  11. Great video: Earth flyover from the ISS « Why Evolution Is True | November 14, 2011
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  13. Wow… Just WOW! | Martin S Pribble | November 14, 2011
  14. ‘Mystery City’ Revealed By ISS Time-Lapse Video Turns Out To Be Enormous Oil Field « Mind Your Language | November 16, 2011
  15. Perspective | Intelligent Life | November 17, 2011
  16. The view from the space station « From Genesis One to the Anthropocene | November 18, 2011
  17. La vuelta al mundo en 90 minutos | Imagen astronomía diaria - Observatorio | November 21, 2011
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  19. News & links for late November « The Outer Hoard | November 22, 2011
  20. fly around the earth | The Improvised Life | April 3, 2012
  1. Looks like the green stuff from NIGHT OF THE COMET is real. Dammit. I never did finish my zombie bunker.

  2. Adrienne

    what is that red loose squiggle at 3:47 & then 4:38?

  3. WJM

    CAN’T WATCH! Keep pausing to figure out where I’m looking at now!

  4. Shatners Basoon

    Adrienne – I was wondering the same thing

  5. Tom

    I don’t know how they get any work done on the ISS…I’d be staring out the windows the whole time.

    Question for those who have seen the Aurora in person. Is it a shimmering light with lots of motion, or is it static? In the time lapse, it didn’t seem to be changing much.

  6. Orlando

    @2&3: Maybe the Chinese Great Wall?

  7. JT

    @Tom, it’s generally a slowly changing curtain of light, just fast enough to be aware of the changes when staring at it, though on really active nights it can fluctuate relatively quickly. It didn’t look like it was changing much in parts of the video because (I imagine) the ISS is moving very quickly, but there was one spot (1:00-1:09) where you could see quite a bit of motion. However, since this is a time lapse film, that apparent speed is misleading.

  8. Ales

    Is there a reflection of the ISS (white moving spot – left bottom) from 2:49 to 2:55?

  9. J. D. Mack

    There are some small lights moving across the sky around 1:40. Are those satellites?

  10. Jason Seas

    I always like watching videos like that, and as Virginia goes by go “Hey there I am!”.

  11. Morgan

    <3 Jan Jelinek.
    Great video.

  12. Peebs

    That was breathtaking and beautiful. I recognized Chicago/Lake Michigan where I am, Florida/East Coast, Puerto Rico, Italy, Egypt and the whole Middle East, Russia and East Europe. I have to watch it again!

  13. Jody

    The main aurora is slow moving. The curtains or rays change over a period of minutes. If you are lucky though you will get “flaming”, where ripples of light travel up the curtains or rays with a period of seconds. That usually occurs with an all-sky storm where you are literally directly underneath the aurora curtains.

    There is nothing more awe-inspiring (and freaky) than having the entire sky covered in pulsating, rippling, green light.

  14. Adrienne

    So the (probably not so) mysterious reddish line/squiggle is when they are over the Middle East, per the Vimeo description of the sequences.

    I still can’t match it up.

  15. Megan McC
  16. Guess: taken with a wide angle lens, so curvature of Earth is actually exaggerated. Anyone know?

  17. Chris

    I spent way too much time trying to determine the Red Squiggle. Phil, call in your sources.

  18. Adrienne

    Me too @Chris! (#19) I gave up. I did find this — it’s there on Oct 21 2011 in that YouTube montage. http://www.universetoday.com/90608/a-night-flight-over-the-mideast/

  19. Adrienne

    ANSWER: it’s the border between India and Pakistan which is lit up with floodlights.

  20. Crux Australis

    An aurora is definitely on my bucket list. How can I download that video for use in class?

  21. Vaughan

    The problem I see with the red line being a border between India and Pakistan (which I have crossed) is mainly that there are bodies of water on either side. Another smaller detail is along that border.. there isn’t much in the way of large cities. I think this needs re-evaluation.

  22. Cindy

    My four year old son just made us watch it twice in a row.

    Great images!

  23. CJSF

    @18 (Scopes)
    Yes, the curvature is exaggerated a bit, due to the lens.

    Does this video (or parts of it) exist in real time? I’d like to see that as well.


  24. Mary Milligan

    Awesome!!! Incredible!!!

  25. Pete Jackson

    Is this the original time lapse of the footage, or has it been speeded up for this vimeo?

    If the original is slower, I would prefer to watch that, with each sequence having its own video.
    The one here seems to go too fast to take it all in.

    At any rate, great video!

  26. Childermass

    I having trouble with Vimeo and rather than download the necessary add-on, I found it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls9yJTphLxg

  27. Reid

    The red squiggle … I almost convinced myself that its the DMZ between north and south Korea, but after investigating in Google Earth, I’m not sure all the cities line up well. I don’t think it’s the India-Pakistan border, but the Great Wall idea might hold water – Beijing is in the right place, but I can’t tell if there’s an ocean on the right side of the fly-by at 3:47 or not. If so, I would vote for the DMZ over the great wall.

  28. Damien Surajbally

    Makes me wonder –
    Why did you put a guy up there in the first place?
    How much radiation are we really putting into space and are we being recorded as we are up there recording?
    All those lights represent technology….a brilliant mind understanding the use of a lightbulb (installation, rates, maintenance,ability to share)…so what are we doing creating wars? Lets use this same energy to build more crafts so we can all hop on a “space-“taxi and see this effect live and direct

  29. On Vimeo it lists the geographic areas of the world that were filmed.


  30. Cy

    Red Line is border of India and Pakistan, illuminated by Indian floodlights

  31. The guy who needs CPR can wait the 5 minutes. This was a great video. Thank you Bad Astronomy, NASA, and the folks up at the ISS.

  32. @Ales, I think that is the reflection of the Moon off some of the bodies of water.

    I found it difficult to see the volume of the clouds, as I saw all the shadows, but it still looks like a flat texture. That said, everything looked so cool!

  33. Ohio Mike

    Great video!!

    But…worst soundtrack ever.

  34. Paul

    I don’t see the lines between us (good, virtuous people) and THEM (the evil bad guys).. Therefore, this video must be propaganda. Faked. Where are all the borders???

  35. Thomas

    Needs a speed control. I would like to have see some of it at half that speed.

  36. WHY does every videographer feel the need to supply unwanted, un-needed music to the videos?? It angers to the degree of not sitting through these self-congratulatory amateur “art. Keep science as it is, don’t add your “masterpieces” to it please.

  37. lizmo

    It is 100% the border between India and Pakistan, compare it with this photo:


    the part that is in that photo, at 3:47, is in the left hand side of the screen, and is twisted about 90 degrees clockwise. Here is an image illustrating the comparison: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/508/unled2do.gif/

  38. star-affinity

    Wow, just wow.

    Managed to spot Orion around 1:04

  39. Trebuchet

    I second what Thomas says, except I would like to see ALL of it at half that speed. Now I need to go start up the newer computer so I can actually do the HD and full screen — this one can’t cut it.

  40. star-affinity

    @Ohio Mike

    Soundtrack worked well I think. Not “the worst ever” at least. :)

  41. Muzz

    Cafe glitch electronica’s alright. Y’all need to broaden your horizons (yuk yuk)

    The individual clips on the NASA image library suggest this is the video speed you would get from making the picture series into video and smoothing it a bit. Drop the ISS a line and ask them to decrease their time lapse interval on the next orbit.

  42. Please give credit the the awesome music of Jan Jelenik in the main article. The footage is beautiful, and probably public domain, but not crediting the music is, quite literally, criminal.

  43. Adrienne

    For those who doubt the red squiggle border – please follow the Universe Today link or the National Geographic link :)

  44. Murray

    @ Tom. I think calling the aurora borealis slow-moving gives the wrong impression. I live in the Yukon. They can seem slow-moving, but then take a breath and it’s completely different. Snap your fingers and you have an entirely different colour and image. They are never static, and in the time-lapse you get a sense of that in some shots–whirls and vortices all over. I remember a very strange evening some years ago when I missed a pic due to no camera–the entire sky was red. All the world knew of this and spoke of it after and it’s quite rare.

    As for the red squiggly line–yeah, what is it? Is the Great Wall of China lit up? Could the sun have caught it on rising or setting? Even that wouldn’t seem that big from space, would it?

  45. Johan

    W…ow! This is so beautiful! This video brings peace to humankind.We are so small, and with time, we have gathered knowledge as long as life has existed on earth, puzzled it with our imagination and creativitity, and now, we can see our beauty! Stunning and moving. And I am happy we also had developed the camera, because 240p had been a shame to view this pearl with! Oh, am i flirting with mother earth? LOVE ON FIRST SIGHT! AMAZING! Should have picked another music doh. Some touching,peaceful,epic music in a perfect balance would have been just more awesome I think. will probably be some remixes on Youtube soon! Thanks for sharing!

  46. WJM
  47. aaron

    @ kristin mak
    this video is a quintessential intersection of science and art.
    i thought the music was well done and added to the experience.

    you can mute videos by dragging the volume all the way to the left.

  48. Cherie

    We have the opportunity to watch this amazing video, and some people are complaining about the music?! Turn off your speakers if you don’t like it. Sheesh.

  49. saanvi

    I have seen many time-lapse videos in my life. But this video really mesmerized me.

  50. Cosmonut

    Am in serious danger of spending the whole day comparing the video with Google Earth !

    My fave part was the fly-by over Egypt and Middle East from around 2:40 to 2:50.
    You start off with the Nile.
    Then at 2:44 you see Baghdad to the centre right.

    At 2:47 you see Caspian sea with Tehran just to the south and Baku on the Western edge of the Caspian.
    Wish I had been taught geography like this !

  51. Jason

    Ugh, what a horrible editing job. Too fast. No respect for the viewer. I’d like to see the stuff, not just see lights whizzing by so fast I can’t make them out. Seriously, when I see the ISS from the ground it takes several minutes for it to come and go. In this video he has it whizzing by cities in several seconds. What a waste.

    And terrible crackling music, made it sound like my speakers are broken. Maybe they are, after that music.

    The planet is marvelous, though. And kudos to the astronauts for taking the footage. It’s just the editor who fails.

  52. QuietDesperation

    Beautiful video, but, sorry, poor soundtrack selection.

    Now *this* is how to match a soundtrack to your timelapse video:


    Hans Zimmer FTW

  53. Superluminous! 😀

    (Beyond merely brilliant.)

  54. Infinite123Lifer

    Seeeriously, that was real? From up close that blue dot looks pretty busy, I mean is that show that brilliant? This magnificent twisping ominous and seemingly endless colored light display; alive, formed by the various fields of Nature’s invisible forces, lightning storms , stars, and the unleashed harnessed infant abilities of electricity. It is possible to imagine so many possibilities with pictures such as these. I almost threw up contemplating the scope of it all.

    When our awareness and understanding rivals the beauty of that which we strive to be aware of and understand, than what would we have to be?
    Iam taken aback. I also feel like whoever lives on that world that was caught on video should be thinking much about the precious nature of such a venue. What does one do with such knowledge of self? There is something to be said for realizing literally ones place, but so vividly, at such a pace? Holy Haleakala Batman

    QD, sound….really?

  55. Infinite123Lifer

    Yeah, if they slowed it down and played the sound that OMG makes I might not have grown world viewing awesomeness sick. As it was it blew me away, all of me. I tried to get some sleep but just kept picturing the Earth flying beneath me. Enduring the moving worlds test.Amazing
    Glad to see I am not the only one

  56. Fake! I can see stars in most shots, and we know that all of the photos from outer space don’t show them!

    Seriously, I like how the rotating star-fields show the once-per-orbit pitch the station has to have in order to maintain itself parallel to the local surface below it.

    – Jack

  57. NASA is cool , maybe not perfect but NASA is definately not bankrupting america , abandoning our legacy of exploration and discovery bankrupts america! send this vid to politicians and people who think space exploration is a waste of money!!

  58. malendras

    Wow. That is immensely gorgeous. I just muted it and played Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” while watching, which made a tremendously fitting soundtrack.

  59. CR

    Seriously, complainers, mute your speakers and enjoy the view that most of us are not likely to see with our own eyes for many years to come, if ever. Play your own music to accompany the visuals, or no music at all. (On the other hand, thanks to those who at least offered alternative music suggestions instead of just complaining.)
    And as for the visuals, although I would love seeing a version at about half the speed, I do like the ‘flyby’ effect this video’s speed creates.

  60. Cosmonut

    Yes. The orange line at 3:48 is definitely the Indo-Pak border.

    If you freeze it, you can see Delhi on the far side at left and Mumbai on the coast at the right.

    The video ends with another fly-by over the Indian subcontinent.

    Mumbai in centre (white blob) at 4:40, Bangalore (orange blob) at 4:42 and the last city in the video at 4:44 is Colombo, Sri Lanka.

  61. Muzz

    Let’s just underline this one more time.

    This is not video. It is time lapse photography made into video.
    It is not too fast. It is how fast it goes (run through your mind the usual frames-per-second rates for film and video for a moment).

    If you want to view the stills instead, the link is given.

  62. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    It’s all fantastic.

    Wait, are you implying it’s all a fantasy???

  63. QuietDesperation

    Yes, sound. Some of us can use more than one sense at a time.

  64. xmundt

    I, personally, would have preferred Handel’s Water Music as a background to the video. I also agree that it zipped by WAY too fast. Half that speed would be ok, and I suspect even 1/4 speed would keep people’s interest.
    dave mundt

  65. Great video… soundtrack not the best one though. Not horrible just the constant clicky/poppy sounds were getting to me. **twitch**


  66. Gordon

    @20 Adrienne – Thanks, you saved me a lot of time, I was trying to figure that out. I figured it was a floodlit wall, eliminated the Great Wall as it is not floodlit the whole length, looked at the Korean DMZ, wrong shape, at the West Bank wall, wrong shape, and was stumped. The Pakistan/India border makes perfect sense.

  67. Daniel J. Andrews

    For those who want the video to go slower…

    You can download the video using a variety of free software tools. E.g. I use addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper/

    in Firefox.

    Save in a format that can be played in Windows Media Player (e.g. wmv), and then change your player settings to “slow” speed. Sometimes the player speed option is not available, but so far it hasn’t been a problem with videos I’ve downloaded from youtube.

  68. WJM

    @50. Murray

    I’ve seen the aurora shimmer very, very, very rapidly in Labrador, almost to the point where it looks like it does in time-lapse videos.

    Have you ever been warned not to whistle at them?

  69. WJM

    Here’s another good alternative soundtrack, if that’s still an issue:


  70. PaulG

    Ok people, if that is not a reason to believe in God Almighty, I don’t know what is. The beauty of our planet is so unique and astounding is just too amazing not to. Just all the incredible detail and the ways that our planet in being sustained is mind-blowing. If any one of the details (such as the spin rate or tilt) of our Earth are out by only a tiny hair, the planet becomes dead. Do you really think that evolution is responsible for this? God is our creator, read the book (bible), don’t wait for the movie!

  71. Tom K.

    All the lights, water, mountains, 7 billion people, where do you humans grow your food?

  72. Jon G.

    That RED SQUIGGLY LINE is not the India and Pakistan boarder, the DMZ or the Great Wall of China!!

    It is the NILE RIVER BASIN IN EGYPT. The diamond shaped land mass is Saudi Arabia. The picture is rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise.

  73. Hey, I saw the Aurora on September 29th! I was visiting Maine which was far enough north (unlike my usual Tucson, Arizona residence).

    I also love watching the solar panels as they move to maximize power production.

  74. Reid

    I stand corrected on the India-Pakistan Border issue – thanks for calling me out on it @lizmo. :) If only we could focus our efforts on building something else than political divisions maybe we could make this world a better place for ourselves and all life with which we share this orb.

  75. DigitalAxis

    Next time anyone asks me “why should we go to space” I’ll send them this video.

  76. icemith

    Thanks for the brilliant effort. I was particularly impressed with the “cruising” speed, (apparent orbital velocity). Others have picked-up on the reason it has to be this fast – being an artificial video, made up of separate still shots maybe seconds apart, not thirty per second. Slowing it down would get into the realm of shaky/jerky rendition, reminiscent of old 16 fps amateur films!

    I was intrigued to see the rather thicker, mostly green line at the top of the atmosphere, the “limb” as it were. I imagined that the atmosphere would just fade away to below our threshold of perception as the air peters out to the vacuum of Space. Not the apparent edge-on shell we see in the visuals. Or is it a reflection of the light propagated through the air, not unlike the light concentrated at the edge of a glass or Perspex sheet, or even a fibre optic “light pipe”?

    As for the sound, I didn’t mind the selection, only the clicks and pops of the version available. I just turned the sound way down. Nothing that a good “de-clicker” would find challenging to rectify, or better still, a good CD or equivalent modern recording of the very same music, added instead. I doubt the video was edited with the music in mind, scene for scene.

    Rather, the music was probably added after editing, and works but is not a perfect fit, as one would have to expect from professional music editors for film, or better yet, music specially written, or composed for the actual scenes, and played/recorded, to yield a composite soundtrack to accompany the visuals. Just like the blockbuster movies that have become our benchmark.

    No doubt also, some people would try putting “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, (2001 theme), to the visuals, but as that has been done too many times, and as there is no real climax in this one, would probably not work. Anyway Kubrick is not around to help!

    I too was trying to (mostly guess) at the landscapes scooting beneath, and would have loved to have an indication by way of a “hovering mouse” to give a few basic details of the transversed countries. It would only take a few graphics to show exactly where we were.

    Anyway, it was a brilliant feast of visuals, and no doubt I shall enjoy replaying it.


  77. Infinite123Lifer

    Interpretation is becoming an increasingly funny glitch hindering human progress.

  78. Xtiansimon

    I get what you’re saying about the music; Drum ‘N Bass in Outer Space it ain’t!

    The scene at 02:55 looks like the matte painting of Giedi Prime from Lynch’s Dune!

    The most surprising was the thunder heads.

    Astronauts have been looking at this for fifty years!
    I love the internet!

  79. JMW


    Thank you, Phil. And NASA. And Michael Konig.

    I will be showing this to my kids.

  80. Douglas Troy

    Excuse me, I have to pick my jaw up off the floor.

  81. Muzz

    Heh, my services are required once more.
    Wandering through this thread is like I imagine blasting punk in an old people’s home. Or trying to explain rap and hip hop to your parents in the Eighties “What’s that racket? Is it supposed to sound like that? Whatever happened to Bing Crosby”. The shock of the new, as they say.

    Ok , I’m being mean but I assure everyone, hate it though you may, the music is very real and meant to sound the way it does. It falls broadly into an electronic music genre known as Glitch, which is a bit arty but is popular and has been around quite a while now.

    Congratulations, your horizons are now broadened.

  82. WJM

    @82. Tom K.

    SOYLENT GREEN IS [spoiler alert] PEOPLE!

  83. If you listen to the song ‘our truth’ by Lacuna Coil, while watching this, its 1000 times prettier! I promise!

  84. If you listen to the song ‘our truth’ by Lacuna Coil, while watching this, its 1000 times prettier! I promise!

  85. Oh and the song ‘Fragments of Faith’ by Lacuna Coil….Good music is a must for a video! But the first one I stated might be better.. HaHa

  86. -Matt-

    Thank you, gentlemen of the ISS.

    NASA, we salute you!

    Sync it up with John Murphy’s ‘Sunshine’, or Hans Zimmers ‘Time’ instead.

  87. This was on tonights news SBS and ABC TV along with a clash over possessing the “northern lights” (aurora borealis) which included – I’m pretty sure another time lapse seen here.

    Click on my name for an online news item on it which includes a listing of the locations drifting by below.

  88. @83. PaulG :

    Ok people, if that is not a reason to believe in God Almighty, I don’t know what is. The beauty of our planet is so unique and astounding is just too amazing not to. Just all the incredible detail and the ways that our planet in being sustained is mind-blowing. If any one of the details (such as the spin rate or tilt) of our Earth are out by only a tiny hair, the planet becomes dead.

    Sorry. I appreciate your perspective but that’s just not quite accurate acutally.

    For instance, the Earth used to rotate much faster with a far shoter day earlier in its geological history – and its roattion rate is slowing now. we also think our globe ha svaried its axial tilt at times. There is a whole book of hypothetical alternative Earth’s which discusses how life would be different – not necessarily non-existent -if various present planetary parameters changed.

    Do you really think that evolution is responsible for this? God is our creator, read the book (bible), don’t wait for the movie!

    Yikes. You’re asking for trouble posting that here! 😮

    I’m an agnostic who has read the Bible and many other religious texts.

    Many others here have also done so and are atheists.

    There may well good arguments for God but the mere fact of our existence and planet – being explained pretty well by science – isn’t one of them.

    Oh & evolution is very well supported by all the evidence and creationism is not. Intelligent Design / Creationism is not even scientific and contradicted by multiple lines of evidence and logical problems. But that’s a whole other story and not relevant to this thread.

  89. @100. Cynthia : This song you mean? (Click on my name.)

    Fervent agreement with :

    #67. CR who said:

    Seriously, complainers, mute your speakers and enjoy the view that most of us are not likely to see with our own eyes for many years to come, if ever. Play your own music to accompany the visuals, or no music at all. (On the other hand, thanks to those who at least offered alternative music suggestions instead of just complaining.)


    Y’all know you can mute the music right? Or turn the volume down at the speaker? You can even watch it again and again with a series of your own musical preferences playing in the background and compare and contrast.

  90. There’s so much good music of different genres and to suit different moods and personal preferences.

    Still my suggestions to accompany the ISS Earth overflight clip here would be – for the classical or theme variety :

    Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks IV: La Rejouissance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1heHf8e_fP4

    Although its kinda short and would need to be followed by something – maybe some of the Berlin Symphony orchestra’s Babylon-5 theme music?


    Then there’s the soundtrack music to Mysterious Cities of Gold :


    which I find incredibly powerful and effective if obscure. Wish I had a source for y’all that just had the music but alas, not. The bit from about the 8 minute 25 second mark there blows me every time. There’s more of it .. somewhere.

  91. Back to classical music there’s Holst Jupiter :


    which I’ll always associate with Earth now after David Attenborough’s use of that as his introductory theme fro the eponymous documentary series.

    Then into contemporary (~Ish) again, the Tea Party’s Heaven Coming Down :


    which is one of my all-time faves as is :


    Pearl Jam’s Given to Fly – live in this case cause it rocks but you can also find studio versions online if y’all prefer.

    Or another of a trillion and one possible audio accompaniments to the International Space Station flying over Earth is Pink Floyd’s ‘Learning To Fly which is linked to my name here.

    So much good music, so many choices, those are just a few of mine ..

  92. Oh what the heck, can’t resist adding just a couple more musical accompaniments that I reckon work with this clip :


    Feed the Tree Belly.

    Plus :


    Bowie’s Space Oddity strikes me as apt – hopefully not too much so! 😉

    Then there’s :


    Midnight Oil’s One Country where we can mentally substitute “one planet” or just enjoy the irony (usage?) given how much more than just one country we’re seeing pass below. 😉

    Finally (promise!) click on my name for one last one that strikes me personally as particular appropriate as the soundtrack here even if much of this involves night not daytime. 8)

    (‘Course this is all just my own perhaps quixotic idiosyncratic selection, sure everyone else will have their own. Natch & fine.)

  93. dror

    at 2:40-2:43 that’s our good ol’ middle east! : )

  94. WJM

    If any one of the details (such as the spin rate or tilt) of our Earth are out by only a tiny hair, the planet becomes dead.

    = = =

    The Earth’s elliptical orbit means it varies in its distance from the sun by over three million miles in the course of the year, moving nearer or further from the sun by an average of 9000 miles a day. Even if the orbit was perfectly circular, the diurnal rotation of the earth (if you believe in that) varies your own position on the surface of the earth, relative to the sun, by up to 4000 miles from local dawn to local noon.

    All of which is to ask: how thick is your hair? you use conditioner?

  95. I saw this on another site yesterday and had t see it again. This is amazing, I love the electrical storms. The people on ISS truly have the best job in the world.

  96. @104.

    There is a whole book of hypothetical alternative Earth’s which discusses how life would be different – not necessarily non-existent – if various present planetary parameters changed.

    Actually there’s at least two both by Physicist Neil F. Comins : ‘What If the Earth Had No Moon?’ (1993) & its sequel ‘What if the Earth had two moons? and nine other thought-provoking speculations on the solar system’ soem of these imaginative essays were also published as a series of articles in various issues of Astronomy magazine such as their Feb. 1991 issue.

    Click on my name for one site reviewing his second book – the first book has a wikipedia page listing Comins hypothetical different Earths in that too.

  97. I had to turn it into a lesson. It’s what I do. If you’re a classroom instructor looking for a pedagogically sound excuse to show the vid in class, give this a whirl.


    And thanks to commenter Adrienne for figuring out that puzzling red squiggle!

  98. Rk Warren

    A narration would be great.

  99. Kirill

    The soundtrack/music is amazing and truly matches the visuals!!
    People who don’t get it — please stick to GaGa/Bieber, nothing to hear here.

  100. Don


    Being a lightning freak, I paused and stepped through the video one frame at a time when lightning appeared in the video. What I saw were some very strange images. The best one is around 4:41.

    Go to 4:41 and start single stepping through the frames. After 8 or 10 frames, you will see an object pop up in the lower right side of the frame. Wish I could post the image here. It has tank tracks on one side, several “objects” in the middle (a couple of cubes and a round object), and the other side is blurry and hard to make out.

    Does anyone know what in the world this is? Is it a reflection of some of the camera’s internal parts? The tank tracks show up in a couple of the other lightning flashes as well.

    Spooky stuff!

  101. Olias of Sunhillow

    Makes me feel like I am in the Moorglade!

  102. mjazz

    Beautiful, but too fast. What’s with the scratchy record?

  103. Images linked together like this to create such a stunning video are priceless. I am certain that to those able to work on board the International Space Station that it is quite a challenge not to want to stare at the big blue marble out there, or watch as the stars wander past the port holes.

    What a wonderful compilation shown here. For those worried about the music, just turn it off, or play something by Holst or Vivaldi.

    @}– Sister Ida

  104. @ Don, the “tank treads” you are talking about is an Airport perched on a land fill. I don’t recall the exact airport, but have seen this before. I want to say Hong Kong or some place in the Far East. It would take some research for me to discover the exact airport. Good catch though. What you are seeing, I am sure, is the reflection of light from either the moon off the water just as the ISS was passing over. Since this is not a full motion video and I can’t initially tell which direction the station is traveling it is difficult to tell that the moon’s illumination crawled from some other portion of the screen only to be seen in that one frame. It took me a few tries to freeze the frame just on that flash, but again I am certain it is an airport.
    @}– Sister Ida

  105. Debra Roffo

    Magical!!!!! Beautiful!!!!!! Inspiring!!!!! Breathtaking!!!!!

  106. Treediddy

    I got a kick out of all the people who convinced themselves the squiggly line is the Pakistan/India border. I recognized the Sinai Peninsula right away and the lights of Cairo to its west. I think a lot of people were expecting a north/south orientation to the image, the orientation we’re used to seeing in our maps. Isn’t it amazing the influence the Nile has had on the settlement of Egypt.

  107. asteriK

    Loved the video. Saw it a bunch of time all over the internet already but felt the need to mention here that I for one LOVE the soundtrack (Jan Jelinek) and think it fits perfectly. (for the people who dislike it just mute the sound).


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