Astronaut Reid Wiseman is currently zipping around miles above the surface of our Blue Marble inside the International Space Station. He's doing important scientific astronaut stuff, but he's also taking time to feed the public a series of stunning images from space via his very active Twitter account.
He took a break from photographs for a moment to post the first Vine from space, a time-lapse video taken from the ISS that shows the sun zooming around in a circle, never setting. Wiseman's accompanying missive reads, "1st Vine from space! Single Earth orbit. Sun never sets flying parallel w/terminator line#ISS#Exp40 @astro_alex."
The video is mesmerizing, and the explanation behind it fascinating. The ISS is really cooking along up there. It makes an orbit of the Earth roughly every 90 minutes. That means astronauts can log 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every single Earth day. The view can be dramatic, however, when the ISS flies parallel to the terminator line, the moving line that separates the dark and the day sides of the Earth. (Fun fact: it's also sometimes called the "twilight zone.") In this case, the sun doesn't set from the view of the ISS.
Wiseman is scheduled to be up on the ISS into this fall, so we may be able to look forward to more Vines from space before he comes back down to Earth. In the meantime, his Twitter feed is a bonanza of gorgeous and interesting photos taken from far above, ranging from Chicago in the dark of the night to swirling storms over Argentina.