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Life, Unbounded

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Watch the Earth From Space, Live!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Live streaming video by Ustream
It doesn’t get much better than this (well, of course being in space might be better, albeit colder). The above is streaming video, live from the International Space Station and the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment that was lofted to orbit by a SpaceX Dragon craft just days ago. If it looks black, that’s because the ISS is in night, just wait and within about 45 minutes it’ll be day again. You can check the ISS location here. Otherwise interruptions may be due to simple internet traffic – just try again later.

To quote the HDEV NASA site:

“The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment places four commercially available HD cameras on the exterior of the space station and uses them to stream live video of Earth for viewing online.  The cameras are enclosed in a temperature specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space.  Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality, over the time HDEV is operational, may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions. High school students helped design some of the cameras’ components, through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program, and student teams operate the experiment.”

Caleb A. Scharf About the Author: Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's multidisciplinary Astrobiology Center. He has worked in the fields of observational cosmology, X-ray astronomy, and more recently exoplanetary science. His books include Gravity's Engines (2012) and The Copernicus Complex (2014) (both from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) Follow on Twitter @caleb_scharf.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. SJCrum 4:34 pm 05/1/2014

    As for looking at earth from space, an enormously thrilling view is one that is likely not noticeable to almost anyone who sees the picture. But, it is without any doubt at all the longest distance view of earth from space.
    To see it, find the Hubble picture of the “Bubble Nebula”, and then look at the mirror-image view that is exactly in the center. What you will see is a huge amount of gas clouds that also have in the exact center, a large black void. And a void that obviously has the Hubble Space telescope in its center, and earth, obviously in that totally black area also. that is because the exact center is directly in the Hubble picture, and the telescope has to be right there.
    One odd thing is that there is likely a feeling a person will have, and that being that you are an ENORMOUSLY great distance from home. And, a real view from that extreme distance certainly would be that. Ten trillion miles totally away.
    So, that is a truly great view of earth also.

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  2. 2. jtdwyer 6:43 am 05/2/2014

    What are you talking about? If you’re describing something real, please provide a specific link – otherwise please spare us! Even a perfectly aligned, optically perfect mirror more than 7000 light years away will not offer a dynamic view of the Hubble Space Telescope…

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  3. 3. souhjiro 4:49 pm 05/2/2014


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  4. 4. sbs304 12:43 pm 05/3/2014

    After reading this blog on May 2, the video feed was briefly available. Since then (up to mid-day May 3), there has been nothing but gray screen. Is anyone currently seeing anything other than gray screen?

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  5. 5. johnkratz 9:00 am 05/6/2014

    What is wrong with this feed?? Getting nothing

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  6. 6. eltodesukane 12:55 pm 05/8/2014

    nothing to see

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  7. 7. Dr. O.A. Mamer 11:32 am 05/9/2014

    SJ Crum has no inhibitions about expounding on his version of scientific reality it seems…

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