RED Epic Dragon captures stunning time-lapse aurora footage

3 pictures

View of Earth's aurora as seen from the ISS's Cupola module(Credit: NASA)

View gallery - 3 images

NASA has released a stunning time-lapse video of Earth as seen in 4K quality from the International Space Station. The video serves as a reminder of the complex interactions constantly taking place between Earth's atmosphere and the relentless stream of particles emanating from our Sun.

Beyond the obvious scientific applications of Earth imagery, stunning vistas of our planet taken from space have become a regular feature for NASA's impressive public outreach program. They grant a rare sense of perspective, serving as a reminder that we are in the grand scheme is things a very small part of a larger universe.

Earth imagery has taken a number of sizeable leaps forward in recent years. With the successful insertion of NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) into its operational orbit in February 2015, fresh shots of the full disk of our planet are readily available for the first time in the history of our young species, with new images uploaded every day.

In January 2015, the crew of the ISS took receipt of a RED Epic Dragon camera. The imaging device, which is of the same design as the camera used to film Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, has been put to good use bringing the public the highest resolution views of low-Earth orbit to date.

The RED Epic Dragon camera imaged between two NASA ExtraVehicular Mobility Units (EMUs)(Credit: NASA)

The camera, which is capable of filming 300 frames per second in 6K quality (6144 x 3160 pixels), had previously been used to show the lighter side of life in space by filming Terry Virts playing with a water bubble and an effervescent tablet (because there is no such thing as boredom in space).

To capture footage for the newly-released video, astronaut Tim Peak secured the Epic Dragon to the interior of the ISS's Cupola. From this position the camera recorded several time-lapse videos that were edited together to form the new release. The time-lapse shows the spin of the Earth relative to the station bringing into view stunning aurorae, city lights and sporadic thunderstorms.

Scroll down to view the new NASA video.

View gallery - 3 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Latest in Space

Editors Choice