Christoph Malin:

Do you remember 1982’s TRON movie? The plot: A computer programmer (epic: Jeff Bridges) is digitized inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out. I loved the light cycle races and strange solar wind ships…

Back in the real word the ISS is in a way one of these solar ships, constantly rotating around us. A tiny white spot, as it can be seen racing over the sky from time to time, when illuminated by the sunset (and sunrise ;).

This Video was achived by “stacking” image sequences provided by NASA from the Crew at International Space Station (see also). These “stacks” create the Star Trails, but furthermore make interesting patterns visible. For example lightning corridors within clouds, but they also show occasional satellite tracks (or Iridium Flashes) as well as meteors – patterns that interrupt the main Star Trails, and thus are immediately visible.

I am a huge fan of all things Space, SciFi and ISS, and there are some really really great time lapses out there made from the already astonishing ISS footage…. But when recently friend Babak Tafreshi from and me processed some timelapse star trail images with StarStax for another project, it made “click”… Hey, give that tool into the hands of a Timelapse freak like me – booooom.

So I was in space mood last night after watching Felix Baumgartner‘s stratosphere jump. Outside, raindrops hammered against the windows, so I grabbed me some RedBull as well as my earplugs and finally stacked my way trough 1 TB Thunderbolt RAID packed ISS time-lapse footage.

Staring 10 hours into the screens I was more and more amazed about the Star Trails emerging from the ISS footage. With three machines rendering at the same time it was quite a journey to see which footage would work stacked, and which not. At some point I felt a bit like Jeff Bridges fighting against the mighty mainframe in TRON. So I was TRONized!!!

In so far, the result is quite psychedelic, and as Dude Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomer points out very nicely (in yet another reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey): “Oh my god, it’s full of startrails!”