Video: A spacecraft parked in orbit at a distance of 1.6 million kilometres has captured the mother of all timelapse videos — an entire year on Earth. Enjoy.
The EPIC camera aboard NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite has now recorded a full year of life on Earth from its position at Lagrange point 1, a sweet orbital spot 1.6 million kilometres from Earth where the spacecraft is perfectly balanced between the gravity of the Earth and the sun. It’s the perfect vantage point to see our beautiful blue marble as it makes its yearly journey around the sun.
The camera, which belongs to NASA, snaps a picture once every two hours. A team led by EPIC lead scientist Jay Herman took the 3000+ images captured by the satellite to create the unprecedented video. The video runs from August 2015 to July 2016, capturing the ever-changing perturbations of the Earth’s weather systems. Prominent features seen in the video include the continents, deserts, forests and various bodies of water.
Of particular note, the shadow cast by the moon on the Earth during the total solar eclipse on 8 March 2016 can also be seen (at the 1:50 mark).
This video is super cool, but DSCOVR and EPIC are being used to do some serious science, including monitoring the ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, and measuring cloud height, vegetation patterns and ultraviolet reflectivity.