Watch this magical time lapse of the International Space Station orbiting Earth, and be dazzled:

Here’s how science educator James Drake, who compiled 600 publicly available images to create this inspired animation, describes it:

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.

Making the rounds on the net, the animation is earning rave reviews. Slashdot calls it “stunning” and Universe Today “amazing.”

Bad Astronomy writes:

The clarity, color, dynamism, and sheer jaw-dropping wonder of this is spectacular to behold. . . . This is truly magnificent.

Wondering what the brown-green arc above the Earth is? Bad Astronomy explains:

That’s an aerosol haze, a glow caused by particles suspended high above the planet’s surface.

And between about 18 and 32 seconds into the video, check out the lightning...