Astronauts on board the International Space Station orbit the earth approximately once every 90 minutes at a speed of nearly 17,500 miles per hour. They see around 15 sunrises and sunsets every day, and observe weather systems from some 250 miles above the earth. Fortunately for the rest of us, these extraordinary views have been captured by European Space Agency astronauts in the form of timelapse videos.
The short videos show thunderstorms across Africa, Western Europe illuminated at night, and perhaps most strikingly, the haunting green glow of an aurora. Atlas Obscura has collected the ESA’s most hypnotically beautiful timelapse videos, below.
The Aurora Borealis, photographed by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the ISS:
Western Europe, from the ISS, as seen by ESA astronaut André Kuipers:
Lighting strikes from space, made from 49 images taken 250 miles above the earth:
From the Canary Islands to Italy, as captured by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti:
An orbit of the earth with lighting, auroras and sunrise by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst:
Thunderstorms over Africa captured in April 2015 by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti: