ISS Night Flight in “Real Time”

by Jason Major on February 7, 2012

We’ve featured wonderful time-lapse videos taken from the Space Station many times and each one is amazing to watch, but here’s something a little different: by taking photos at the rate of one per second and assembling them into a time-lapse, we can get a sense of what it’s like to orbit the planet at 240 miles up, 17,500 mph… in real time. Absolutely amazing!

This video was recently uploaded to the The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, an excellent site run by the image lab at Johnson Space Center. The description of the video states:

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken January 30, 2012 from 06:13:36 to 06:23:09 GMT, on a pass from northern Mexico to northwest New Brunswick. This video begins looking northeast over Texas, where cities like San Antonio, Houston, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area can be seen. Continuing northeast over the Great Plains states, cities like Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and St. Louis can be easily distinguished. The pass continues over the familiar shape of the Michigan Peninsula, with Chicago at the south edge of Lake Michigan. As the ISS continues northeast, the Aurora Borealis can be seen over Canada.

And, of course, the nighttime lighting allows for an excellent view of the stars beyond, which are easily captured with the camera set to expose for Earth’s night side.

This is a great and privileged perspective on our world shared by the crew of Expedition 30, and the talented team at JSC’s Image Science & Analysis Lab. All we have to do is sit back, watch and enjoy… and say, “keep ‘em coming!”

Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

(And, as an extra treat, check out this ISS video of the northern lights over western Canada!)


A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

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