Around the World on the Space Station: Video

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Want to blow your mind? Watch this:

(Hint: Go full screen and click the high-definition option!)

Now watch it 14 more times for an idea of what the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) get to see every day. No wonder after five months up there they still don’t want to come down!

This gorgeous video was made by science teacher James Drake using images downloaded from The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. This is a great online resource with basically all of the images taken from orbit, categorized into a searchable database by region and date. He used a free program called VirtualDub to create the final edit.

PHOTOS: Inside Atlantis’ Final Space Station Mission

James explains on YouTube: “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 Francisco, 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.”

My favorite parts are the golden reflections of the cities’ lights on the solar panels of the ISS and the strobelike flashes of lightning visible in some of the clouds.

Simply stunning.

BIG PIC: Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked to the ISS

You can find more of James’ work on his blog, Infinity Imagined.