By now, we all know what the Earth looks like from space. But to see our home planet from above – in real time – is truly something special. Is that what you’ll see in the live video feed below? Sometimes. The live video feed below is from the International Space Station (ISS), and it also includes internal views when the crew is on-duty, a map showing the path of ISS in orbit, ISS turning its camera on itself, and other features. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. One other caveat. This video feed is available only when ISS is in contact with the ground. During “loss of signal” periods, viewers will see a blue screen. (Sometimes it takes a while to load.)
There’s a second cool video feed I found related to ISS. You can track the position of ISS over the Earth at this European Space Agency site.
I like to open two windows on my computer, and watch the ESA tracking page and the live feed from ISS side by side.
Because the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, the external camera video may appear black, but sometimes it provides spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.
If you happen to visit this page while the feed is down, here’s one more video, below. This one isn’t live, but it can give you an idea of how it feels to fly above the Earth on board the ISS.
The cities and places shown in this video, in order of their appearance, are: Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, some Texas cities, Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, electrical storms above the ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon.
Bottom line: Enjoy spectacular views of Earth – in real time – from a camera on board the International Space Station.
Emily Howard, Producer and On-Air Host, helps create EarthSky audio and video science products in English and Spanish. You might hear her voice on an EarthSky 90-second podcast, or on EarthSky 22, your weekly 22 minutes of science and music from Austin, Texas. Emily oversees the scheduling and production of EarthSky en Español’s audio, video, and online content. She is responsible for setting and enforcing deadlines, and reporting on product development. Emily graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a major in History (focus on Latin American Studies) and a minor in Spanish. She further cultivated her Spanish skills while living abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, and traveling extensively throughout South America, Mexico and Spain.