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The best of NASA's night lights

ITN's Mark Morris reports on Michael Konig's compilation of space station video.

It's been a great year for views of Earth at night from space — in part because of the upswing in solar activity, and in part because more observers are taking better advantage of NASA's voluminous image databases.

German filmmaker Michael König has drawn together some of the best time-lapse sequences from the International Space Station, which were captured from orbit between August and October and archived at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

König says he "refurbished, smoothed, retimed, denoised, deflickered, cut" the footage for his compilation. "All in all, I tried to keep the looks of the material as original as possible, avoided adjusting the colors and the like, since in my opinion the original
footage itself already has an almost surreal" look, he says on the Vimeo website.

The results certainly made a splash: It was picked up by Britain's ITN television network, as demonstrated by the video above. The full HD version reveals crackling lightning storms, whirling stars and whizzing satellites in the skies above, and the arc of airglow at the edge of the atmosphere. The stars of the show are the rippling auroral displays, which have been shining in abundance this year due to an increase in geomagnetic storms.

Give König's video a look, and enjoy the spacey soundtrack by Jan Jelinek:

More amazing imagery from orbit:

Tip o' the Log to Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait.

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