PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
ISS Time Lapse Photography refers to the practice of compiling high-altitude photographs of the Earth taken from the International Space Station (ISS) to create a time lapse video. Since its viral breakout in September 2011, dozens of other montage sequences based on ISS photographs have been uploaded onto YouTube.
The earliest known time-lapse montage of the Earth titled “Looking Down on Earth from the ISS HD Timelapse” was uploaded on September 2nd, 2011 by American science educator James Drake (YouTube handle: yesterday2221), who used more than 600 photographs of North and South Americas from The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA’s online database of photographs of Earth taken by astronauts during their missions onboard the International Space Station. Weeks later on September 15th, Drake uploaded a polished version of his previous video titled “What does it feel like to fly over planet Earth?” which reached over 3 million viewers within the first five days of upload.
Following its viral breakout, several duplicates were uploaded by other viewers, some of which featured alternate soundtracks or annotations providing geographic information of the places shown in the video. On September 17th, YouTuber darjanator uploaded a 30 frame-per-second version of Drake’s video, revealing previously undiscovered elements such as lightning in action. On the following day, YouTubers thefpck and slowmo uploaded even more fluid versions of Drake’s video using smoothing transition techniques.
On October 24th, NASA uploaded 29 time-lapse videos of the Earth onto its official YouTube channel, sectioning the content into two separate playlists titled “ISS Timelapse Earth Views” and “Expedition 29 Earth Observation Videos.”
On November 12th, German video artist Michael König uploaded his first experiment with the ISS time lapse video onto Vimeo, featuring a seamless montage of ISS photographs taken from August to October 2011, which revealed stunning views of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Like Drake’s video, König’s “Earth” also drew significant interest from the mainstream media/
On February 10th, 2012, NASA uploaded a new batch of 10 time lapse videos made with photographs taken by Expedition 30 astronauts aboard the International Space Station from January 29th to February 3rd.