Did You See This?

Earth From Above

Spectacular time-lapse footage from the International Space Station.

You’re not alone if you think watching the video above—taken from above by the International Space Station—is a surprisingly emotional experience. The music is haunting and beautiful, sure, but the startling images are powerful enough on their own.

If you weren’t already in love with our planet before watching the video—fittingly titled “ISS Symphony”—then you probably are now. Maybe it’s the undulating lightning storms, or an aurora, or a shooting star streaming into the atmosphere: one sequence after another is just beautiful. It moved me to tears.  

Dmitry Pisanko, the video’s editor, started with a massive 109-gigabyte download of 95,623 images released by the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center. He created time-lapse video sequences out of the photos, performing all the deflickering, stabilization, noise reduction, and color-correction magic himself using off-the-shelf apps. Pisanko wound up with 40 minutes of crystal-clear 4K footage, which he then edited down to the current four-minute runtime. It took three months just to find the right score, which, clearly, he did. His choice—“Experience,” by Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi— is the perfect accompaniment to the stunning images of our planet.

Pisanko recommends watching ISS Symphony in 4K after turning the lights off and the sound up to fully experience our breathtaking planet in all its glory.