The crew of Expedition 30 aboard the ISS captured the photographs that comprise this time-lapse video on Feb. 4, 2012. From their privileged vantage point, 240 miles up and traveling 17,500 mph, the countries and continents of the world pass by within mere minutes… but the views are spectacular!
Here, with the docked Soyuz and Progress vehicles in the foreground, we are looking southwest as the ISS travels east. At the beginning of the video it approaches the northwestern coast of the United States, with the lights of San Francisco and Seattle illuminating the coastline below.
Passing over southern Canada, the moon reflects in the many rivers that snake across the land. Its light casts shadows onto components of the Station.
As the dark blue expanses of the Great Lakes drift past to the south, the neon green glow of the aurora borealis appears above Earth’s northwestern limb, shimmering over the paler yellowish line of airglow.
Eventually the ISS passes over southeastern Canada, Montréal and Cape Cod, heading out over the Atlantic. The moon manages to makes a shining appearance before the video fades.
Although not “real-time”, this video (and several recent others like it) have been shot at a rate of one image per second, and the resulting slower frame rate more closely resembles the true speed of the ISS than previous videos, most of which were shot at wider intervals.
Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.