As they orbit the Earth from a height of 400 kilometers (240 miles), astronauts aboard the International Space Station take hundreds, thousands of photographs of the Earth below and the skies above. These images are online at a NASA archive called The Gateway of Astronaut Photography of the Earth. This archive is free and open to everyone, which means people so inclined can collect them, put them together, add music, and make incredible, moving, stunning, brain-expanding time-lapse videos... like this one from Knate Myers called View from the ISS at Night:
Incredibly lovely. The use of the music from the movie "Sunshine" was inspired.
There is a poetry in the motion of celestial objects, the perfect balance of forces that allows orbital mechanics to transform itself from equations on a page to artistry in the heavens. What science does is allow us to make that leap, to understand these interactions between gravity and velocity and combine them into grace and beauty. To a scientist, the equations themselves are beautiful - elegant, as we call them; simple yet profound, balanced, yet heavy with implication of how the Universe itself works.
This is why science is so powerful. It's a tool with which we understand the Universe, and it works. For proof of that, you need only see a picture of Earth from space.
- This Is Our Planet
- The softly glowing night sky
- Astronaut opens up the window to see the Moon rise