Impressive timelapse movie from the ISS shows active thunderstorms & city nightlights

This was featured on Slashdot, and I thought I’d share it here since it is so impressive. From the description on YouTube:

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.

Turn on HD (720/1080) for best viewing if your monitor supports it.

Raw data was downloaded from;

The Gateway To Astronaut Photography of Earth
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/mrf.htm

 

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33 Responses to Impressive timelapse movie from the ISS shows active thunderstorms & city nightlights

  1. Russ says:

    Has your site been down for an hour?

  2. Patrick Davis says:

    Spectacular. When flying from Australia to Asia/ME or across the Pacific to the US at night I am always amazed how many lightening storms there are.

  3. Braddles says:

    Beautiful pictures though I’m not sure that it quite looks like that. The ISS is not high enough to see so much curvature in the horizon, so I suspect it is like a lot of space shots, where what appears to be the curvature of the Earth is actually the distortion of a wide-angle lens.

    The ISS appears to keep the same side facing Earth. Does that mean it rotates once every 90 minutes?

  4. Dan Evans says:

    You can also see stars in the sky and at about 0.56 there appears to be a satellite moving from left to right.

  5. Russ says:

    So, I guess by my asking about your site being down for the last hour got moderatored out.
    So again, I ask, was your site down for over an hour?

  6. UK Sceptic says:

    Wow! The Earth, as seen from space, never fails to impress.

  7. Angry Exile says:

    Wow. I’m amazed that our cities produce so much light that it reflects off the underside of the ISS.

  8. John Marshall says:

    Impressive. We live on a very active planet and some politicians think we can control climate. Amazing.

  9. Sandy Rham says:

    Why isn’t it in an equatorial orbit?
    Swinging so far outside the tropics must make supply trips needlessly expensive in rendezvous fuel?

  10. Les Francis says:

    Make a great screen saver

  11. Russ says:

    HAHA, now my origional question was added, All I wanted to know if your site was down for an hour, because it wouldn’t load up for some reason.

  12. Geoff Shorten says:

    Russ – I had the same problem around 7:00 am South African time.

  13. Scarface says:

    Russ says:
    September 19, 2011 at 12:51 am
    “So, I guess by my asking about your site being down for the last hour got moderatored out.
    So again, I ask, was your site down for over an hour?”

    Try tips and notes.

    Btw, any comment on the video?
    I think it’s great!

  14. Paul Coppin says:

    Oh look, stroboscopic ozone generators….

  15. Jack Jennings (aus) says:

    Hey Thanks Anthony, wellworth watching many times.
    I find lightening storms very humbling.

    We’re having a great tropical one right now though it’s early spring 10pm and 38 South (Melbourne) … yes I know it’s only weather. But it is wild.

    Cheers JJ and thanks as always, Anthony, Mods and posters.

  16. TBear (Warm Cave in Cold-as-Snow-Sydney) says:

    Hot video.

    The Bear is very impressed …

    Damn, there are a lot of lights from human settlement. Unless you fly over NorthKorea, I guess.

    Or until Al-Gored gets his way and we have to go `Earth Hour’ black every night. Just like World War 2, and blackouts for the blitz. But, I guess there was something to be afraid of back then. As in a big bomb falling on your house and such.

    Funny thing, with Big Al-Gore `letting himself go’ as he has (probably a fried-chicken-from-the-South, kinda guy) he reminds the Bear of a big old bomb. He’d surely do a lot of damage, if dropped from a height. Say, for instance, he fell off that cherry-picker-ride he uses in that mockumentary about `global warming’. Imagine god-awful `thud’ as chubby-chops Gore hit the floor!

    Maybe this is the point, that we have been missing all along?

    Inconvenient Truth was never meant to be taken seriously. It was actually filmed as a mockumentary and Big-Old-Fried-Chicken-Guts-Al is merely taking the piss out of us? Seems more plausible than the argument that BOFCGA actually believes the nonsense that spews from his overfed mouth …

    Oh well.

  17. Frank Davis says:

    OK, so what was the flight path of that little movie? What is the sequence of continents and islands we’re watching?

  18. Sparks says:

    That’s one amazing camera, I want one, the images it took were super bright and clear for a night time shot, Night vision without a green-glow. Sweet!!

  19. Richard says:

    From the cloud shrouded northwest pacific coast, over California, Mexico and central America, then down the west coast of South America with the Andes clearly visible.

  20. Moemo says:

    ISS orbital info: http://www.heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=25544
    Still a bit hard to ID stuff with the cloud cover but it may help you figure out what you’re looking at.

  21. Ric Werme says:

    Russ says:
    September 19, 2011 at 12:51 am

    > So, I guess by my asking about your site being down for the last hour got moderated [fixed] out.
    So again, I ask, was your site down for over an hour?

    Anthony doesn’t have “a site.” WUWT is hosted at wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com, and there have been occasional failures and DoS attacks at WordPress. Speaking solely for myself, I haven’t seen a failure in the last day or so. While I do spend far too much time here, I’m not on every hour. Given that you and others saw problems, there probably were problems.

  22. p gosselin says:

    I had the operator of Skeptical Science (don’t recall his name) commenting at NTZ and I ended up booting him out for good because all he did was provoke people and was completely closed minded to any arguments or data. He really acted like a complete jerk – and I’m being nice here. And so i suggest not even mentioning him. You can be sure the attention that WUWT is going straight to his bleep bleep head. He’s a childish zealot who thrives on it.

  23. p gosselin says:

    Oops – comment above belonged to the Forbes story.

  24. John F. Hultquist says:

    Always fun and educational (much appreciate the added info by comments) to see these sorts of things. Thunderstorms and cloud cover are impressive visually and more so now after reading about all the energy involved. Thanks to WUWT for many related posts.

    Regarding internet issues: This past week seems to have had some generally slow times. This may be my local provider of DSL. Anything I tried to access just seemed to hang. A few hours later the same site would pop up in an instant. Go figure? I just go do one of the chores (or read something printed – so last century, I know).

  25. Jeremy says:

    Where is the illumination coming from? The moon? or do they have a camera sensitive enough to get surface-detail from starlight?

  26. livingasalex says:

    What Angry Exile said. Amazing though.

  27. john says:

    Real Time Satellite Tracking… UARS (satellite slated for pre-mature re-entry and others).

    http://www.n2yo.com/?s=21701

  28. Eric Gisin says:

    I take it there is a full moon and taken with a high ISO camera?

  29. Kevin Kilty says:

    Sandy Rham says:
    September 19, 2011 at 1:33 am
    Why isn’t it in an equatorial orbit?
    Swinging so far outside the tropics must make supply trips needlessly expensive in rendezvous fuel?

    The value of the ISS would be reduced greatly by not being able to overfly the entire Earth’s surface.More expensive O&M, but far greater value.

  30. Ric Werme says:

    Sandy Rham says:
    September 19, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Why isn’t it in an equatorial orbit?
    Swinging so far outside the tropics must make supply trips needlessly expensive in rendezvous fuel?

    The orbit was determined by the latitude of Russia’s Baikonur (sp?) space port. The cheapest route to orbit from some latitude is to an orbit tilted at that latitude. A launch from Cape Canaveral to an equatorial orbit is more expensive than one that doesn’t pass overhead. The additional cost to get something to a somewhat higher inclination orbit isn’t great.

    Personally, I think Ecuador should build a launch facility on a mountaintop. The only thing worse than launching from sea level would be Death Valley. Probably not a good name for a space port either.

  31. Hoser says:

    Sandy Rham says:
    September 19, 2011 at 1:33 am

    The ISS has to pass beyond Russia’s Baikonur launch site latitude, about 46° N. This condition is met with the ISS orbital inclination at almost 52°.
    See:
    http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/
    http://www.orbiterwiki.org/wiki/Launch_Azimuth
    http://www.shuttlepresskit.com/ISS_OVR/index.htm

  32. Ric Werme says:

    Oops: A launch from Cape Canaveral to an equatorial orbit is more expensive than one that doesn’t pass passes overhead.

  33. Mac the Knife says:

    Way…. Way Cool!

    Such an violent,active but sear thin atmosphere
    To nurture and shield all life thriving here!
    Shattered lightning splinters darkling skies,
    primordial fractal arcs, the mote in God’s eyes…
    An ISS epiphany,
    watch tower beacon for a toddling humanity!

    Mtk

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