Around the World in 60 Seconds

Want to blow your mind? Watch this:

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Now watch it 14 more times for an idea of what the astronauts aboard the 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.

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.


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


  1. IzaakMak says:

    That video is just plain incredible. And the Infinity Imagined site is awesome as well.


  2. Patrick says:

    Holy Smokes….. Brain Matter Everywhere!!! 🙂 Great post!


  3. Kevin Milne says:

    We would like to use the time lapse earth flyover in the classroom. Are there rights available, and is there a hi rez version available for download? We would also like to convey our appreciation to Mr. Drake. Does anyone have Mr. Drakes blog address or email?


    1. J. Major says:

      Since the video was made with public domain NASA images, I don’t believe there’s any problem presenting them in a classroom situation. As far as James’ contact is concerned, his personal blog is linked to in the article above.


  4. Kim says:

    Amazing time lapse…the light flashing under the clouds must be lightnings?


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