This gorgeous video recorded from the International Space Station flows like a hypnagogic hallucination, with shimmering cities of silver and gold and pancake-shaped cloud clusters blinking off and on with lightning. The viridian ropes of the Northern Lights flow through it all like a frolicking symphonic theme.
Berlin-based Michael König created the film by piecing together photos taken this year by astronaut Ron Garan and the crew of the International Space Station's expeditions 28 and 29. The vantage point is about 220 miles above the ground as the spacecraft whizzes along at nearly 17,230 m.p.h. The astronauts were able to capture the world in stunning detail via a type of high-ISO Japanese camera called the SS-HDTV, and König added his own editing finesse to make the footage "refurbished, smoothed, retimed, denoised, deflickered, cut, etc." He did not fiddle with any of the colors, though, so what you're seen actually occurs above your head on any given night.
For more of the kind of raw ISS photos that the film draws upon, check out NASA's Image Science and Analysis Laboratory. A list of the locations covered in the video follows the jump.
Shooting locations in order of appearance:
1. Aurora Borealis Pass over the United States at Night
2. Aurora Borealis and eastern United States at Night
3. Aurora Australis from Madagascar to southwest of Australia
4. Aurora Australis south of Australia
5. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
6. Aurora Australis from the Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
7. Halfway around the World
8. Night Pass over Central Africa and the Middle East
9. Evening Pass over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East
10. Pass over Canada and Central United States at Night
11. Pass over Southern California to Hudson Bay
12. Islands in the Philippine Sea at Night
13. Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
14. Views of the Mideast at Night
15. Night Pass over Mediterranean Sea
16. Aurora Borealis and the United States at Night
17. Aurora Australis over Indian Ocean
18. Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night