Striking views of Earth captured in time-lapse video

Coinciding with the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first flight into space, a videographer creates a recording that takes viewers on the International Space Station's tour of Earth.

The scientists aboard the International Space Station "have the best view in the solar system," videographer Alex Rivest says. Maybe that is why he created this time-lapse video of exactly what the scientists see so people around the world can also gaze at the same view.

Hovering close to Earth and completing 15 orbits per day, the ISS provides dozens of photos and videos of the views it records -- the same stunning scenes captured in Rivest's video. The habitable satellite tracks rolling scenes of the multi-colored planet with images of long winding rivers, high mountain ranges, expansive oceans, and cloud-covered skies.

Rivest released the video this past week to coincide with the 51st anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first flight into space. Gagarin's 108-minute orbit around the Earth was an event that awed the world and accelerated the space race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Last week was also the 31st anniversary of the inaugural launch of NASA's space shuttle program.

With the end of the Cold War, the ISS project was created as a collaboration among the American, Russian, Japanese, Canadian, and European space agencies. It was launched in 1998 and has been continually inhabited by scientists since 2000.