Current International Space Station (ISS) resident Tim Peake shared an awe-inspiring video of a lightning storm striking Earth as he passed safely above it from space.
The British astronaut captured the images that he later shared on social media as the ISS flew from North Africa over Turkey on its way to Russia. We hope everyone over there is doing okay, because from the looks of this video, they were in for quite the storm.
From space, the massive, dark storm cloud certainly appears ominous, but it’s the sharp, bright flashes of lightning that reveal the real danger. At first, only a few strikes are visible, but the sky soon opens up, unleashing an onslaught of bolts that pepper the sky with the rapid jolts of electricity.
Peake clarifies in his post on Facebook that the video doesn’t quite show the storm in real time. The video is only thirty seconds, but the footage covers 10-12 minutes of flight. Since the ISS travels at 5,500 km per hour, we see 917 km or 570 miles pass beneath us in just half a minute. The space station is fast, but even from orbit, storms don’t look quite this crazy.
Even without the insane storm to blow your mind, the video is pretty beautiful, showing the ISS careening over much of Turkey as airglow coats the outside of our atmosphere. The beauty of space as well as the onslaught of lightning on Earth just reminds us once again how much better it is to be an astronaut than an everyday human. It’s a shame, too, because we don’t even have what it takes.