Several time lapse videos of the Earth from the International Space Station have been released in recent weeks -- and each one offers a stunning, out-of-this-world (ahem) perspective of life on the blue planet.
I sought out these videos again over Thanksgiving, I suppose in my effort to find a little respite from the semi-chaotic hubbub of the holiday. As usual, I was awed by the sheer amount of activity on Earth, from the lightening and green and red aurorae to the airglow -- that thin arc of light that hovers above the horizon. But what really stood out this time was the millions of lights -- some tiny flickering specs and others large blots -- that mark where we live and use electricity.
I was having an energy nerd moment. Check out these videos, even if you've already viewed them before. This time, as you virtually fly over industrialized and developing nations think about the sheer amount of energy being generated and used on our world everyday.
The first seven-minute video was stitched together by astronaut Ron Garan and sums up his six-month stay on the ISS. The space station, as Garan describes in his Fragile Planet blog, travels at roughly 17,500 mph and orbits Earth once every 90 minutes. Garan wrote that he produced the video in hopes of helping "people follow along on our missions, not as spectators, but as fellow crew members."
In the first video the sequences are:
1:06 Europe to the Indian Ocean 1:35 United States of America 2:01 Aurora Australis over Madagascar 2:26 Central Africa to Russia 2:44 Europe to the Middle East 3:00 Hurricane Katia 3:10 New Zealand to the Pacific Ocean 3:38 Northwest U.S. to South America 4:10 Aurora over Australia 4:34 North America to South America 5:05 Mexico to the Great Lakes 5:16 Hurricane Irene 5:22 California to Hudson Bay 5:38 Tanzania to Southern Ocean 6:00 Central Africa to the Middle East 6:15 Chile to Brazil 6:25 Africa to the Mediterranean Sea 6:37 Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan