Stunning Simulation: Flying Over the Earth

VIDEO: Images are taken from the International Space Station as it orbits Earth.

Remember in “ Charlie in the Great Glass Elevator,” when the elevator went hurtling through the air and around the globe? Most of us will never come close to that experience, but a new video is at least showing us the view.

James Drake, who goes by the YouTube alias, yesterday221, posted a time-lapse video from the perspective of the International Space Station as it orbited the Earth. According to the user’s YouTube page, “This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica.”

The viewer flies over expansive areas of ice and glowing earth. One can see what appears to be flashes of lightning as the satellite whirls over the planet.

A thin yellow line can be spotted around the earth, which yesterday221 says is the earth’s ionosphere, the ionized upper part of the atmosphere that makes long distance radio communication possible. Barely distinguishable is a smattering of stars in the sky and at the end of the lapse, a refulgent glare as the satellite encounters the Sun.

“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, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon,”Drake writes.

Drake said the images were downloaded from “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of  Earth” and the program virtaldub was used to create the video. More images of space can be found on his blog, Infinity Imagined.

The International Space Station is the largest and longest inhabited satellite to ever orbit the earth.

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