skip menus
Home >> Advanced Search >>

The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

(NASA Crew Earth Observations)


















"We catch a glimpse of a huge swirl of clouds out the window over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or the boot of Italy jutting down into the Mediterranean, or the brilliant blue coral reefs of the Caribbean strutting their beauty before the stars. And...we experienced those uniquely human qualities: awe, curiosity, wonder, joy, amazement." (Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo Astronaut ("The Home Planet")






Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Crew Earth Observations Videos - South America

The following videos have been created by the Crew Earth Observations team at Johnson Space Center from a series of still images taken onboard the International Space Station. Newly added videos occur toward the top of the page.

Please see our terms of use for these time lapse sequences and astronaut photography for more information on use and distribution of these .mov files.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of these sequences of frames were taken at the rate of one frame per second, therefore the slower speed of the video represents a closer resemblance to the true speed of the International Space Station than previous videos. These videos will be identified with a * in the title.

Title Video links

From Night to Day to Night Again

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 34 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken on January 3, 2013 from 11:43:46 to 15:49:31 GMT, on a pass from northwestern Australia, making two complete orbits to eastern Quebec, near the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This fast-paced video features the ISS completing two and a half orbits around the Earth, crossing the terminator line several times in the process. The video begins as the ISS is in darkness, and as the moon rises on the left side of the video, the ISS begins to pass over into daylight. Clouds mostly obscure the view during this first daylight pass with the exception of the Caucasus and Elburz Mountains just before the terminator. The ISS slips back into night as the moon again rises in the left side of the video. As the Station flies back into daylight, the ISS flies over Central America, the Caribbean Sea, and Cuba and Florida before flying over the northern Atlantic Ocean. Most of Western Europe is under cloud, and the first land that can be seen is the Alps Mountains and Croatia. The ISS then passes over the terminator line again into darkness as the moon rises in the left side of the video. As the ISS passes back over into daylight, clouds obscure most of the Earth until near the end of the video, when it passes over the Baja Peninsula and the southwestern United States.

Compiled from frames ISS034-E-16709 to ISS034-E-18545

Date posted: 2013/01/23

From Night to Day to Night Again
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



From North to South America at Night

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 34 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken on December 16, 2012 from 05:48:48 to 06:21:54 GMT, on a pass from just south of the Aleutian Islands over the North Pacific Ocean to southeastern Brazil. This nighttime video displays the city lights over North America, Central America, and northeastern South America. The ISS starts over the North Pacific Ocean, and the first city lights that come into view are those of Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland in the Pacific Northwest. The pass continues southeast over the Great Plains and to the southeastern United States, where the outline of the Florida Peninsula is easily distinguished. The video concludes by flying over some Caribbean islands and finally over eastern South America.


NEW- Click here for an annotated version of this video, which explains the geography throughout the time-lapse video.

Compiled from frames ISS034-E-8224 to ISS034-E-8886

Date posted: 2013/01/04
From North to South America at Night
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Storms over Caribbean and South America

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 31 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken from June 29, 2012 from 02:24:38 to 02:41:11 GMT, on a pass from the Caribbean Sea, near the border of Honduras and Nicaragua, to the South Atlantic Ocean, east of Brazil. This night pass begins looking southeast over the Caribbean Sea. The only thing visible to the camera are the several lightning strikes resembling storms over the sea. As the ISS continues southeast over South America, there are a small number of city lights seen before the ISS flies over the Atlantic Ocean, where another line of lightning storms is seen.


Compiled from frames ISS031-E-169858 to ISS031-E-170189

Date posted: 2012/07/20
High Definition video of Storms over Caribbean and South America
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Stars and the Milky Way over the Atlantic*

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 31 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken from June 24, 2012 from 07:09:03 to 07:13:12 GMT, on a pass from the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern South America and north of the Falkland Islands, east over the South Atlantic Ocean. This video primarily focuses on the star field and the Milky Way (near the center of the star field) as the ISS travels over the South Atlantic Ocean. Some city lights can be seen, as well as the airglow surrounding the Earth's limb.


Compiled from frames ISS031-E-152527 to ISS031-E-152758

Date posted: 2012/07/20
High Definition video of Stars and the Milky Way over the Atlantic
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Western North and South America*

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 31 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken May 16, 2012 from 21:01:11 to 21:17:45 GMT, on a pass from just west of California to west of Peru. This pass begins as the ISS is tracking south-southeast off the western coast of the United States. Southern California can be seen, as well as the large city of Los Angeles and the Baja Peninsula. Just to the south of the peninsula, smog can be seen off the coastline of Mexico. The pass continues south-southeast over the Pacific Ocean before the video ends looking at the western coast of South America.


Compiled from frames ISS031-E-48208 to ISS031-E-49202

Date posted: 2012/07/09
High Definition video of Western North and South America
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



ISS Near Aurora Borealis

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken April 23, 2012 from 06:05:18 to 06:30:51 GMT, on a pass from the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of San Francisco, to just southeast of Buenos Aires. This fast-motion video focuses on the Aurora Borealis briefly, blurred city lights, and the rotating star trails. The video ends as the solar panels obstruct the view of the stars.


Compiled from frames ISS030-E-271717 to ISS030-E-271798

Date posted: 2012/06/14
High Definition video of ISS Near Aurora Borealis
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Western South America*

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 31 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken May 14, 2012 from 21:28:49 to 21:36:44 GMT, on a pass from just west of northern Peru to northern Argentina. This video begins looking south over western South America. To the right of the video is the Pacific Ocean, and the left is the shoreline and the Andes Mountains. As the ISS continues southeast, the arid region of the Atacama Desert is seen before passing over the terminator line.


Compiled from frames ISS031-E-37236 to ISS031-E-37674

Date posted: 2012/06/14
High Definition video of Western South America
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Western United States to Southern Atlantic Ocean

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken April 22, 2012 from 05:25:59 to 05:56:38 GMT, on a pass from northern Nevada to just east of southern Argentina. This video is taken through the Cupola window as the ISS travels southeast over the United States and down to the Gulf of Mexico. The bright city lights of Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston stand out as the Earth spins by rapidly. As the ISS travels over the dark Gulf of Mexico, the lights of the Yucatan Peninsula stand out before continuing southeast over southern Central America and northern South America. Most of South America is under heavy cloud and flashes of lightning can be seen before the pass ends over the Atlantic Ocean, east of Argentina.


Compiled from frames ISS030-E-259556 to ISS030-E-259885

Date posted: 2012/05/30
High Definition video of Aurora Borealis over Western Europe
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



From North America to South Atlantic Ocean

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken April 22, 2012 from 05:25:48 to 05:57:20 GMT, on a pass from southwestern Idaho to the South Atlantic Ocean. This video was taken as the camera was pointed ENE over the northern United States and the Aurora Borealis. The ISS travels southeast over the United States in faster motion (long shutter speed). The pass continues over southeastern U.S., where the New Orleans area and the Florida Peninsula can be seen before traveling over the dark Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Continuing southeast, the ISS travels across South America, which is mostly under cloud. The pass ends over the dark Atlantic Ocean.


Compiled from frames ISS030-E-260394 to ISS030-E-260709

Date posted: 2012/05/30
High Definition video of From North America to South Atlantic Ocean
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for 1080p video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Over the Terminator*

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken March 10, 2012 from 09:10:17 to 09:17:11 GMT, on a pass from central Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean, midway between South America and Africa. This video was taken as the ISS crossed over the terminator line, which separates day and night on Earth. The Soyuz and Progress vehicles are seen obstructing the view of Earth.


Compiled from frames ISS030-E-140634 to ISS030-E-141048

Date posted: 2012/03/21
High Definition video of Over the Terminator
Click the image above for the 840x559p video

Click here for low resolution video

Click here for 1080p video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Down the American West Coast

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken November 16, 2011 from 21:44:43 to 21:55:23 GMT, on a pass over the Pacific Ocean, from just west of California to just west of Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. The camera in the cupola is facing west-southwest towards North and Central America. The pass begins looking just north of the Baja Peninsula, where Los Angeles and San Diego can carefully be seen near the coast. Continuing down the Baja Peninsula and the Gulf of California, the pass continues looking into Mexico. Finally, as the cloud cover thickens, the pass closes over Central America, looking far west at Costa Rica and Honduras.


Compiled from frames ISS029-E-42832 to ISS029-E-42960

Date posted: 2011/12/12
High Definition video of the Western coast of North and Central America
Click the image above for the High Resolution video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)



Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night

This video was taken on August 19, 2011 from 08:56:00 to 09:22:18 GMT from the ISS. This pass begins just southeast of Alaska, and the first cities that the ISS passes over (seen approximately 10 seconds into the video) is San Francisco and the surrounding areas. If one looks very carefully, you can spot where the Golden Gate Bridge is located: a smaller strip of lights just before the city of San Francisco, nearest to the clouds on the right of the image. Very obvious lightning storms can be seen on the Pacific Ocean coastline, with clouds overhead. As the video continues, the ISS passes over Central America (green lights can be seen here), with the Yucatan Peninsula on the left. The pass ends as the ISS is over the capital city of Bolivia, La Paz.


Compiled from frames ISS028-E-33150 to ISS028-E-33676

Date posted: 2011/09/22
High Definition video of the night pass over western US and South America
Click the image above for the High Resolution video

Click here for low resolution video

Download video (Right click, and "Save link as") or download photographs used for this video (High resolution or Low resolution)


Please note:
Images in sequence may not be cataloged, and may therefore have no centerpoint or other descriptive metadata. Sequence titles are intended to provide a general idea of what geographic areas are included, and may not be accurate.