Science

Zone out to the longest continuous timelapse made in space

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After a Thanksgiving holiday hopefully filled with lots of food and leftovers, take a load off by staring at a lengthy view of the Earth’s ever-changing surface from space. Alexander Gerst, a German astronaut with the European Space Agency, recorded the longest continual timelapse of Earth from space, made with images taken aboard the International Space Station. In just 15 minutes, viewers sore over the Earth as it changes from day to night, glimpsing locations all over the world.

The timelapse is made up of more than 21,000 images taken by Gerst from the space station over a couple hours on October 6th. The ISS takes just 90 minutes to complete one full orbit around Earth, and the timelapse video depicts two full passes. The film begins over Tunisia, and crosses through Italy and parts of Europe, before plunging into nighttime, showcasing the lights of China. At one point, you can even see a few lightning strikes popping up in a storm over the Pacific. And if you’re ever unsure of where the ISS is in the video, a handy map at the top left hand corner will let you know.

The release of the video coincides with the 20th anniversary of the ISS, which NASA, ESA, and the other international space partners celebrated this week. The very first module of the ISS, Zarya, was launched on November 20th, 1998.

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