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Striking lightning from space

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Published on Jan 27, 2015

Lightning illuminates the area they strike on Earth but their flash can be seen from space too. This timelapse was made from 49 images taken 400 km above Earth in 2012 by an astronaut on the International Space Station travelling at 28 800 km/h. At these distances a camera flash is pointless, but our planet moves by so quickly images can end up being blurred.

ESA’s Nightpod camera aid compensates for the motion of the Station. The target stays firmly centred in frame so the final image is in focus. Astronauts can set up the device to take ultra-sharp images automatically using off-the-shelf cameras.

The steady progression of frames seen in this video with the target staying in centre frame would be nearly impossible without Nightpod.

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