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Now, Anyone On Earth Can See A View Of Our Planet From Space In Real Time

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26 November 2014, 3:40 pm by: Jessica Orwig

iss earth at night from space

There's nothing as profound as seeing Earth from space.

Yet, only the 543 people who have trained as astronauts ever get to experience the Earth in a way that boggles the human mind — called the overview effect — until now.

But now, thanks to the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment, anyone with access to a computer and internet can watch Earth float in space from the perspective of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

The HDEV experiment was activated on April 30 of this year, and so far over 32 million people have experienced the Earth in a way unlike any other — at a height of 268 miles above the surface.

Several commercial HD video cameras are attached to the European Space Agency's Columbus module aboard the ISS. Each camera is pointed at Earth, and live records and streams what they see.

The live stream cycles through the different cameras on board. When that happens, the live stream cuts out for a few seconds, but the fresh, new view you get is completely worth the few seconds it takes for the switch.

As gorgeous as it is, this experiment has a purpose besides awing people on Earth: Each camera is protected inside a pressurized, temperature-controlled case. The experiment aims to test the effects of space on this equipment and the video quality it produces.

High school students helped design some of the components of the experiment through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware program.

Enjoy the view below:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

If that one's not working, here's another live stream, from NASA:

Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During "loss of signal" periods, viewers will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

SEE ALSO: We Asked A NASA Astronaut What His Scariest Moment Was

IN PICTURES: The Incredible Story Of The Women Who Were Meant To Be The First Astronauts But Were Left On Earth

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