NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough has posted a cool video captured from the International Space Station (ISS), where he’s been living and working since April.
The 24-second sequence shows the U.S and its major cities lit up at night as the station travels from Texas in the south to Maine in the northeast at an altitude of about 250 miles. Look carefully and you’ll spot a storm happening far below, while the end of the video features a sunrise.
“Hope you enjoy the ride from Texas to Maine as seen from Endeavour’s window on [the ] space station!” Kimbrough said in a message accompanying the video.
— Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) October 9, 2021
As Kimbrough points out, the footage was captured from a window on Endeavour, the SpaceX capsule that flew the company’s first crewed test flight in 2020 and which is now docked at the ISS after bringing the Crew-2 astronauts to space in April.
While the speed of Kimbrough’s video has been increased, the space station is still moving at a steady clip, traveling at 5 miles per second. This means it orbits our planet about once every 90 minutes, resulting in 16 orbits of Earth per day, and therefore 16 sunrises and sunsets.
Fancy turning the tables and watching the ISS as it passes overhead? All you need are clear skies and some patience as you wait for it to head your way. It might pass over your part of the world several times a week, or just once in a month — it all depends where you’re located. Fortunately, NASA has a notification service that alerts you to sightings the day before, so you just need to sign up, enter your ZIP code, and wait. This Digital Trends article tells you how to sign up and offers other tips on spotting the space station.
Other spectacular sights viewable from the orbiting outpost include aurora, the beautiful phenomenon that occurs when particles from solar storms meet gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Aurora can be observed back on the ground, too, but the ISS affords a special perspective with Earth down below. Kimbrough’s colleague, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, recently posted a stunning image of what he said was one of the best auroras he’s ever seen from space.
Pesquet has been spending some of his six-month stint on the ISS capturing incredible shots of Earth, though you might be surprised at how much planning it takes to get the best images. Kimbrough, too, has posted his fair share of amazing photos.