This timelapse video from space has it all: an orbit of Earth with lightning and aurora, followed by a space sunrise and daytime views of our cloudy planet. The images were taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst as he orbited Earth on the International Space Station at around 400 km altitude. The nighttime video shows a Soyuz spacecraft that ferries the astronauts to the outpost. At the end of the video green aurora can be seen as Earth’s interacts with solar radiation.
The International Space Station travels at 28 800 km/h meaning that it only takes 90 minutes to circle Earth completely. Each orbit the Station moves around 2200 km to the West in relation to 90 minutes before. Astronauts often use normal consumer digital cameras to take pictures of Earth through Europe’s observatory module Cupola in their spare time. Setting the camera to take an image every few seconds and then playing the images back quickly create this timelapse effect.
Alexander worked as a geophysicist and volcanologist before he was chosen as an ESA astronaut in 2009. His Blue Dot mission includes an extensive scientific programme of experiments in physical science, biology, and human physiology as well as radiation research and technology demonstrations. All experiments chosen make use of the out-of-this-world laboratory to improve life on Earth or prepare for further human exploration of our Solar System.