As if Santa attached a GoPro camera to his sleigh, a new video reveals the Earth as few have seen it.
Published this week, the time-lapse shows stunning views of the Earth, sunrises, clouds, lightning, auroras, stars, and the International Space Station.
The video was made by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, who stitched together 12,500 images captured during his six-month stay on the International Space Station, which orbits 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the surface. (See more aurora photos.)
The ultra-high-definition video "shows the best our beautiful planet has to offer," writes the European Space Agency.
Gerst set up cameras to record the celestial fireworks while he was conducting scientific experiments or helping dock vehicles during a mission called Blue Dot. (See more striking photos from the space station.)
Gerst returned to Earth on November 10, landing in the Kazakh Steppe in a Soyuz spacecraft with two other crew members. While in space he conducted 50 experiments, including installing a special furnace that cools molten metal in mid-air.
The third German to visit the International Space Station, Gerst is a volcanologist and geophysicist by training. (See photos of the space station.)