Here's something you don't see every day: An ultra-HD time-lapse of Earth, as seen in infrared.

James Tyrwhitt-Drake is perhaps best known for his stunning microscopy work (this matryoshka-like GIF of a scanning electron microscope zooming in on an amphipod, a diatom, and, finally, a microscopic bacterium is a favorite of mine), but the University of Victoria student has been known to turn his attention on larger subjects. Last year, he created a beautiful ultra-HD view of Earth as imaged by Elektro-L, the first Russian weather satellite to operate in geostationary orbit; and, before that, a transfixing 4k time-lapse of the sun.


His latest creation combines hundreds of infrared images of Earth acquired by GOES-13 and GOES-15 (two geostationary NOAA/NASA weather satellites, positioned at longitudes 75° West and 135° West, respectively) acquired over a two-month period. As Tyrwhitt-Drake explains:

Heat is radiated from Earth's surface as infrared light, which is in visible to the human eye. In these images, brightness indicates the emission of infrared light into space. Infrared light is absorbed by water vapor and clouds; they appear dark and reveal the fluid motion of Earth's atmosphere.

...700 frames with a resolution of 3600x3000 were downloaded from each satellite over a period from November 30th, 2014, to January 26th, 2015. The frames were processed to remove image artifacts, played at 7fps and interpolated by a factor of four. The resulting animation plays at a speed of 21 hours/second.


Beautiful! The animations at the top and bottom of this post were created from the time-lapse that combines images acquired by GOES-13. The video, by comparison, synchronizes the images from both satellites. See both videos – as well as a third, which provides a close-up view of the northern and southern hemispheres – on Tyrwhitt-Drake's YouTube channel.

H/t The Verge