Meteor Shower Timelapse Seen from the Space Station

by Fraser Cain on May 19, 2012

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Just as the Lyrid Meteor Shower was peaking on April 21, 2012, astronaut Don Pettit captured this incredible timelapse sequence from the International Space Station. Of course you can see the familiar view of cities sweeping beneath the station as it orbits the Earth, but if you watch carefully, you can see the bright flashes of meteors burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The timelapse was made up of 310 individual frames captured during that evening, which were then stitched together into a single video.


Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

Major Wieloryb May 19, 2012 at 10:24 PM


JonHanford May 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Wish you could slow down the video, as it’s difficult to distinguish between meteors and lightning flashes.

bugzzz May 20, 2012 at 3:02 AM

Totally fantastic. I always wondered about this pov. And now we’re finally getting tastes of it. Love it.

Katharina Streit May 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

I think most of these flashes are lightnings. There are repeated flashes on certain localized areas. That doesn’t match the meteor shower “theory”. At approx. 0:07 you can even see a frontal system. At the very end of the movie you can see some flash events scattered over a dark area, those may be meteors. But that “flashing” can be seen in any movie of this kind.
Could you perhaps mark what you think are meteor flashes?

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