From above, no one would disagree that Planet Earth doesn’t look formidable. But the footage featured here, captured over four days by the stationary Electro-L weather satellite, really drives the muscularity of our planet home.
James Tyrwhitt-Drake from the Infinity Imagined blog has put together “Planet Earth in 4K,” a stunning, high-resolution timelapse of Earth taken from about 40,000 kilometers above our planet, where the Electro-L satellite resides. The video is comprised of images captured every 30 minutes between May 15 and May 19, 2011.
On the video’s YouTube page, Tyrwhitt-Drake answers why city lights, the Sun, and other stars don’t appear in the footage:
City lights are not visible because they are thousands of times less bright than the reflection of sunlight off the Earth. If the camera was sensitive enough to detect city lights, the Earth would be overexposed. The Sun is not visible due to mechanisms used to protect the camera CCD from direct exposure to sunlight. A circular mask on the CCD ensures that only the Earth is visible. This mask can be seen as pixelation on Earth’s horizon. The mask also excludes stars from view, although they would not be bright enough to be visible to this camera.