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"...all I could think was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful and yet again, wonderful"
November 13, 2011 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Between August and October this year the crew of the ISS used a special low-light HD camera to visually capture the earth as it passed beneath them. The result, edited together by Michael König and set to music, is jaw-droppingly spectacular.

It may be redundant to tell you to set Vimeo to full-screen mode before playing, but do so - you won't regret it. Post intended as something of a sequel to this. Some related channels on Vimeo: The World In HD, HDTime, Slow Motion & Timelapse Theatre.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (74 comments total) 166 users marked this as a favorite

 
Woah. Is... is this real life

Also, I would like to have a checkbox labelled "turn on country names and outlines" and one that says "show ISS position on mini globe". Make it so.
posted by danny the boy at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Were those thunderstorms at 1:23?

Goosebumps.
posted by superelastic at 10:50 AM on November 13, 2011


I can't believe thats real.
Im blown away.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2011


Humanity, I've got a lot of problems with your work as a species, but I gotta hand it to you, sometimes you do something pretty cool.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is that lightning around 1:22?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:56 AM on November 13, 2011


I already said this on Twitter but the bit at around 1m37s is as close to poetry as I've ever seen.
posted by Jofus at 10:59 AM on November 13, 2011


for smooth sexy nightlife you know the place to be Earth mmmbaby
posted by Anything at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the video, but hate the music.
posted by martinrebas at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is that lightning around 1:22?

Definitely lightning. at 1:22, and a lot of it.

What I can't figure out is what the big red ribbon of light is at 3:47
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:07 AM on November 13, 2011


Wow, that is awesome.

Regarding the lightning: There's also a sequence with a bunch of lightning somewhere towards the end, but at nighttime.

What is the halo around the earth in most, but not all, of the sequences? Closely following the curvature of the earth? It's at approximately the same height that auroras are sometimes seen at?
posted by Flunkie at 11:07 AM on November 13, 2011


Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
posted by 4ster at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2011


My primary thought: Boy I wish we had more atmosphere.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:12 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Superb.

Each time the image went blank, it felt like my heart was stopping.

Thank you!
posted by trip and a half at 11:18 AM on November 13, 2011


The music does an incredible job of utterly failing to rise up to the level of the video, which is just wonderful.

I turned it off and played the finale from Satyagraha instead - much nicer.
posted by williampratt at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2011


Here is a screen capture of the big red ribbon of light that Mister Fabulous wondered about. Anybody know what it is?
posted by Flunkie at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2011


(Also just realized that 'heart' is an anagram of 'earth'.)
posted by trip and a half at 11:20 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here is a screen capture of the big red ribbon of light that Mister Fabulous wondered about. Anybody know what it is?

This is a time-lapse, so it was probably a small red light-source that moved across that part of the globe. Maybe it's the lights of a plane?

Fantastic imagery... it always astounds me to see the extent to which we've lit up the world.
posted by vorfeed at 11:25 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is a screen capture of the big red ribbon of light that Mister Fabulous wondered about. Anybody know what it is?

My first thought was the Great Wall of China, but is it lit up like that? Is that even the right place? No idea.
posted by trip and a half at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2011


Fantastic imagery... it always astounds me to see the extent to which we've lit up the world.

The Earth: kind of like Coruscant.
posted by clearly at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is a time-lapse, so it was probably a small red light-source that moved across that part of the globe. Maybe it's the lights of a plane?
I really doubt that. It was of constant shape and location for a long time, it's over a very large area, it's the only one of its kind despite there being many planes, and it's of a shape that indicates that the pilot must have been drunk.
My first thought was the Great Wall of China, but is it lit up like that? Is that even the right place? No idea.
I thought that too, but I haven't yet been able to match up any section of the Wall to that shape.

Maybe something like the Ganges during a festival of lights thing, where people float a bazillion lanterns down it?
posted by Flunkie at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2011


If you scroll down here (the source of the imagery) (look for Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night ) it looks like that red line of light is the India-Pakistan border.

Amazing, amazing video. Blows away all the scifi CG imagery I've ever seen. Sometimes real life is better than fiction.
posted by pombe at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really doubt that. It was of constant shape and location for a long time, it's over a very large area, it's the only one of its kind despite there being many planes, and it's of a shape that indicates that the pilot must have been drunk.

Fools, don't you see?! No one has ever been into space, this is just poorly done CGI. Hell, it doesn't even show the water falling of the edges of the Earth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here's a post about the India-Pakistan border from space.
posted by pombe at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Goddammit, the home world is ON FIRE."
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:42 AM on November 13, 2011


I instantly thought of this...
You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch."
— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, People magazine, 8 April 1974.
posted by SirOmega at 11:43 AM on November 13, 2011 [48 favorites]


This is the fenced and floodlit border zone between India and Pakistan. The fence is designed to discourage smuggling and arms trafficking.

Great. We're sitting here passing the bong, everybody admiring how nice the Earth looks from space, and then humanity's always gotta show up and bring everyone down.
posted by vorfeed at 11:44 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


What is the halo around the earth in most, but not all, of the sequences? Closely following the curvature of the earth? It's at approximately the same height that auroras are sometimes seen at?

The description at pombe's link says the bright zone above the horizon is airglow (the excitation of atoms and molecules high in the atmosphere by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun).
posted by RichardP at 11:50 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The aurora borealis is just -- wow.
posted by ourobouros at 12:16 PM on November 13, 2011


At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station. The moon's reflection on water? But it happens over land...?
posted by -harlequin- at 12:17 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, I love this video. Fascinating to watch, truly excellent.

...but...

Is vimeo really the best way to watch stuff like this? The source imagery is publicly available at 4256x2832 from nasa, and I'm watching jarring compression artefacts in a shockingly bad flash player. Yuck. I know bandwidth is horrendously expensive if you have a viral hit on your hands, but isn't there anyone out there so madly chasing market share that they'll host the full file (or a low compression 1080p version at worst) and make it easily available for download?

On preview - I found the link to Vimeo's HTML5 player which is massively better in terms of performance and usability (random seeking without random lockups!?! how modern) but the rant still stands about compression and resolution. I miss the days when spending all your VC money as fast as possible was a business plan.
posted by samworm at 12:18 PM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is a screen capture of the big red ribbon of light that Mister Fabulous wondered about. Anybody know what it is?
posted by Flunkie at 2:19 PM on November 13 [+] [!]


India/Pakistan border. India put up flood lights in 2003 to prevent weapons trafficking and such.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:21 PM on November 13, 2011


The aurora. My God, the aurora. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2011


My guess for that long red ribbon thing is that you are seeing light reflecting off a river -- the shape looks like a river, and perhaps if the exposure is long, you are seeing just a bit of light reflecting off the river's surface from the sun setting just as the shot was taken (or just as the shot was ending?).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2011


Holy shit!
posted by inconsequentialist at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2011


Dang, that's a lot of volcanoes!
posted by rudster at 12:29 PM on November 13, 2011


this is gorgeous.
what would make this video even more interesting: a small little inset with a line trajectory over a map. I would love to know the names of the places that were flown over.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:30 PM on November 13, 2011


I need this as a screensaver so I can pretend I am in a spaceship.
posted by bigbigdog at 12:32 PM on November 13, 2011


That's really fantastic. The aurora was great. And the thunderstorms were unexpected.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:33 PM on November 13, 2011


-harlequin-: "At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station. The moon's reflection on water? But it happens over land...?"

I don't know what the effect is called, but it's akin to when you're driving past a perfect matrix of tombstones - the line directly facing you stands out in your vision. In this case it's probably reflections of the moon on every vertical surface in that little area.

Another example of this, in a different context, is the Spectre of the Brocken, only instead of a shadow, we're seeing the reflection of the moon.
posted by notsnot at 12:52 PM on November 13, 2011


When it went over the Mediterranean through SE Asia and ended in the black of the Pacific... was just... wow.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:53 PM on November 13, 2011


Very beautiful. I would love a longer version with slower movements. Say 30 minutes with a a Phillip Glass soundtrack.
posted by rycee at 12:55 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Amazing, really cool.

"what would make this video even more interesting: a small little inset with a line trajectory over a map. I would love to know the names of the places that were flown over."
posted by seawallrunner

Agree

Youtube version for those who have vimeo issues. (like i do)
posted by marienbad at 12:56 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this. I'd spent the last 2 hours working myself into a near-apoplectic rage over some inane group project and just before sending my group members a nasty email I watched this video. It calmed me down but good, and I feel so much better now. I really needed this.
posted by lilac girl at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2011


I really, really enjoyed this. I even enjoyed the music; with imagery like this, putting on something sweeping just seems like gilding the lily...

What an amazing time to be alive.
posted by the liquid oxygen at 1:01 PM on November 13, 2011


Astounding. I was wondering what the orange line between Pakistan and India was myself.
posted by smoothvirus at 1:05 PM on November 13, 2011


At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station. The moon's reflection on water? But it happens over land...?
Is it necessarily on the ground? Couldn't it be on the lens, or (if the camera is inside) on the window?
posted by Flunkie at 1:08 PM on November 13, 2011


We're all in that movie.

At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station. The moon's reflection on water? But it happens over land...?

There are lots of little lakes and streams all over---well, perhaps not in the desert. But in a plane, under the right circumstances, you can sometimes glimpse how many reflecting flat bodies of water there are in, say, the eastern and northern parts of North America, or Europe.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 1:34 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wonderful. I liked the lightning the best. It reminds us that this planet is very much dynamic and alive all the time.

I'll bet they were kicking themselves when they saw the dust spots on the sensor. Not sure what kind of camera they used, but from the dust spots my guess is a consumer-grade DSLR. Always clean the sensor before an important shoot!
posted by jimmythefish at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2011


...also, count me in on the no-music crowd. I'd much rather have a voiceover with some explanations of various locations and visible phenomena, or at least some pop-up notation.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2011


Oh sweet jesus, there is a 1.5 GB high res version of each clip available? samworm, thank you!
posted by Freen at 2:15 PM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Came for the aurora, stayed for the shimmer of lighting.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2011


I happen to like the music and think it's perfectly appropriate for the content, but I still think they should have foregone its inclusion. Unless your viral video is being scored by the likes John Williams, Danny Elfman or Phillip Glass, most people are going to hate it.

That said, utterly amazing.
posted by triceryclops at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station.

Reflected light source within ISS. Similarly, from 1:40 on you can see some computer screens distorted and reflected; at about 1:58 they are even "in front of" the solar panels as the position of the station rotates relative to Earth.
posted by dhartung at 3:53 PM on November 13, 2011


I liked the music. It made me want to breathe in and out and feel okay about things, which I feel is a suitable reaction.

Beautiful video.
posted by Violence at 3:53 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're looking at Planet Earth,
Bop bop bop bop bop bop bop bop.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:12 PM on November 13, 2011


Gosh.
posted by Magnakai at 4:22 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, stunningly beautiful. Downloaded the video, bought the album.
posted by bongo_x at 5:27 PM on November 13, 2011


Amazing. What a beautiful planet. But did anyone else find themselves completely ignoring earth every once in a while and watching the shooting stars?
posted by danapiper at 5:56 PM on November 13, 2011


Wonderful. I liked the lightning the best. It reminds us that this planet is very much dynamic and alive all the time.

"There are roughly 2000 thunderstorms in progress around the world at any one time, producing about 30 to 100 cloud-to-ground flashes each second or about five million flashes a day."
posted by homunculus at 6:36 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to use this the next time we have a discussion of the worthiness of the space program. Because it's awesome and amazing and occasionally it shows us things that (hopefully) remind people what a phenomenally cool planet we live on.
posted by quin at 7:06 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy Sunday night bedtime viewing! Fantastic.

(Yep, anybody who makes decisions about environmental policy should be flown into space at least once.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:51 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


At 2:50, there is a light on the ground that moves along with the space station. The moon's reflection on water? But it happens over land...?

My guess was that it's the shadow-hiding opposition effect (you can also see this from airplanes or cliffs, along with glories or heiligenschein, which are different effects that occur in the same kinds of situations). There would have to be a light source behind the camera, presumably a full moon?
posted by hattifattener at 8:15 PM on November 13, 2011


it shows us things that (hopefully) remind people what a phenomenally cool planet we live on.

I don't need this video for that. I've been to Oregon.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:16 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The shot from 1:41 to 1:45, what are the objects that move rapidly across the star field? Other Satellites?
posted by chocolate_butch at 9:29 PM on November 13, 2011


I can see the Carl Sagan Future from here!
posted by freebird at 9:35 PM on November 13, 2011


I can see my house from here!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:32 AM on November 14, 2011


I can see my house from here!

Mine is the little yellow glowy one!
posted by -harlequin- at 4:44 AM on November 14, 2011


That is some serious light pollution. Chicago actually hurt my eyes!
posted by DU at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2011


In case anyone is curious what the music is, the track is called Do Dekor, off of the (in my opinion) excellent album "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records" by Jen Jelinek.
posted by ryaninoakland at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2011


I used this video to break in the Vimeo widget on my HDTV late last night. So worth it.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:34 PM on November 14, 2011


could someone put a floating cat in this?
posted by camdan at 9:40 PM on November 14, 2011


I have nothing to say except that I thought the choice of music was inspired.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2011


Good lord. That is indeed wonderful, especially the lightning.

The only places I could identify as they swept by below were Italy and Egypt.

I think I might have to watch it again.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2011


The greatest light show on Earth
posted by homunculus at 7:35 PM on November 30, 2011


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