Astronauts aboard the International Space Station get a rare view of sunrise and sunset from 370 kms above the Earth's surface, but what's even more incredible is that they get to see these sights 16 times every day as the ISS zips around in low-Earth orbit.
You can watch two and a half orbits of the station in this video, posted on January 3rd:
Quoted from Youtube:
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.
You can also see something of this from inside the station as well. Check out this video posted yesterday, of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield speaking with students at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, along with Governor General David Johnston.
[ Related: Russian scientists approve space-grown vegetables ]
If you watch the wall on the left-hand side of the camera view (while you listen to Cmdr Hadfield, of course. He's quite entertaining), you can see what appears to be a reflection of the Sun on Earth's horizon as it climbs up the wall, and the station porthole on the right hand side goes completely dark by the end of the video, so barring any blocking of the Sun or that window by the station or its solar panels, that could very well have been one of the transitions from day to night!
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