Floating Blue Marble: Moving View of Earth from Orbit

It’s almost commonplace these days to see pictures of the Earth from space, but this video of the Earth from orbit is something really special. Shot from aboard the International Space Station, this time-lapse short film is just over a minute long but takes you over all of North and South America. Watching our little blue planet from that distance is humbling and beautiful – and it is completely mind-blowing to watch it and wonder what you might have been doing at the moment the ISS flew above your own location.

Watch the video in full-screen for the full mesmerizing effect. The city lights illuminating a dark Earth are gorgeous, but the lightning storms (the flashes of light in the clouds) are maybe the best part of the whole flyover. This tremendously entertaining video was stitched together by science educator James Drake from 600 images snapped by the ISS.

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See more in Space & Time or under Science. September, 2011.