Mesmerising fly-over of Earth

NASA has released time-lapse footage of flying over Earth taken from the International Space Station. Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream (but don’t forget to click the bottom right corner of the video to enlarge it).

Image Courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center, The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth eol.jsc.nasa.gov

Shooting locations in order of appearance:

  1. Aurora Borealis Pass over the United States at Night
  2. Aurora Borealis and eastern United States at Night
  3. Aurora Australis from Madagascar to southwest of Australia
  4. Aurora Australis south of Australia
  5. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
  6. Aurora Australis from the Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
  7. Halfway around the World
  8. Night Pass over Central Africa and the Middle East
  9. Evening Pass over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East
  10. Pass over Canada and Central United States at Night
  11. Pass over Southern California to Hudson Bay
  12. Islands in the Philippine Sea at Night
  13. Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
  14. Views of the Mideast at Night
  15. Night Pass over Mediterranean Sea
  16. Aurora Borealis and the United States at Night
  17. Aurora Australis over Indian Ocean
  18. Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night

Commentary below by:

Dr Chris McGrath, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Regulation, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland

One thing to note from a climate perspective is the different layers of the atmosphere that are visible through the film.

The white clouds that are visible in many parts of the film mark the top of the troposphere, the lowest portion of Earth’s atmosphere. It contains approximately 80 per cent of the atmosphere‘s mass and 99 per cent of its water vapour and aerosols. It varies in 8-15 kilometres height around the globe.

Above the troposphere a range of visible effects are evident in the stratosphere and mesosphere.

Human activities are known to have impacted on the properties of these layers through damaging the ozone layer in the lower stratosphere and increasing greenhouse gases, particularly in the troposphere.

Wow, it’s a truly amazing perspective on our beautiful planet and our atmosphere.

Readers’ reflections welcome below.