Aurora over New Zealand

This timelapse video was taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst as he flew over New Zealand on the International Space Station at around 400 km altitude. The nighttime video shows an aurora that occurs when Earth’s atmosphere interacts with solar radiation.

The International Space Station travels at 28 800 km/h meaning that it only takes 90 minutes to circle Earth completely. Each orbit the Station moves around 2200 km to the West in relation to 90 minutes before.

Astronauts often use normal consumer digital cameras to take pictures of Earth through Europe’s observatory module Cupola in their spare time. Setting
the camera to take an image every few seconds and then playing the images back quickly create this timelapse effect.

Alexander worked as a geophysicist and volcanologist before he was chosen as an ESA astronaut in 2009. His Blue Dot mission includes an extensive scientific programme of experiments in physical science, biology, and human physiology as well as radiation research and technology demonstrations. All experiments chosen make use of the out-of-this-world laboratory to improve life on Earth or prepare for further human exploration of our Solar System.

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Aurora over New Zealand

This timelapse video was taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst as he flew over New Zealand on the International Space Station at around 400 km altitude. The nighttime video shows an aurora that occurs when Earth’s atmosphere interacts with solar radiation.

The International Space Station travels at 28 800 km/h meaning that it only takes 90 minutes to circle Earth completely. Each orbit the Station moves around 2200 km to the West in relation to 90 minutes before.

Astronauts often use normal consumer digital cameras to take pictures of Earth through Europe’s observatory module Cupola in their spare time. Setting
the camera to take an image every few seconds and then playing the images back quickly create this timelapse effect.

Alexander worked as a geophysicist and volcanologist before he was chosen as an ESA astronaut in 2009. His Blue Dot mission includes an extensive scientific programme of experiments in physical science, biology, and human physiology as well as radiation research and technology demonstrations. All experiments chosen make use of the out-of-this-world laboratory to improve life on Earth or prepare for further human exploration of our Solar System.

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Soil moisture over five years

Five years of SMOS data were used to show how moisture in the soil changes with the seasons around the world. The animation illustrates how change according to season is pronounced in higher latitudes, but monsoon dynamics in the Indian subcontinent are also clearly visible. The ‘Sahel transition’ region in Africa is also well depicted. Seasonal flooding in regions such as La Plata in Argentina and the Orinoco Basin in Veneuzela can also be seen.

Launched in November 2009, SMOS carries a novel radiometer to capture images of brightness temperature, which correspond to radiation emitted from Earth’s surface to produce maps of soil moisture and ocean salinity.

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