This Video of North Atlantic Air Traffic Is Shockingly Beautiful 

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 25 2014 4:29 PM

One Day's Worth of North Atlantic Flights, Visualized

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When you take away the crying children, cramped seats, and excuciating delays, add some music, and zoom out to space, commercial air traffic can actually be quite beautiful. For evidence of this, look no further than the video above, which visualizes every flight across the North Atlantic in a 24-hour period.

The slick package—released by air traffic control service NATS—maps out the various paths taken by trans-Atlantic flights over the course of a day. The final product is a hynotically gorgeous timelapse video, in which the seemingly neverending air traffic looks more like a swarm of nimble fireflies than the lumbering, cramped 767s that most of them are.

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NATS is the largest air traffic service provider in the United Kingdom, responsible for more than 2.2 million flights per year, and its video will, ideally, give you a new appreciation for red-eyes across the pond. At the very least though, you should be able to make it the whole two minutes before remembering what a soul-crushing experience flying really is.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.

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