Lovely! Funny, too: Although there’s nothing really new here, the shots are just so damn gorgeous I don’t mind at all. I could watch stuff like this all day.
There are a few things I want to point out in particular (of course!). Starting at 1:41 we fly along with the ISS as it goes over the Earth at night. City lights illuminate the ground, while flashing lights signal thunderstorms with intense lightning.
You can see the greenish-brown arc in that segment (and even better in the following one, starting at 1:52); that’s called airglow, an interesting phenomenon where the thin air about 95 kilometers up gets excited by sunlight during the day, and slowly releases that energy at night. You can see it on a lot of ISS shots of the limb of the Earth at night.
At 1:58 is one of my favorite shots ever taken from the ISS: The great comet Lovejoy, which graced our skies in late 2011. A bright comet, seen from space … if that’s not what I dreamed about as a kid reading science fiction, nothing is.
As an aside, the music in the video is from the Inception soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, and it’s pretty cool. I’m a big soundtrack dork, and Zimmer is a master. It’s worth a listen.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.