Lyrid meteor shower & Aurora Borealis from Space

Astronaut Don Pettit loves sharing his holiday pictures. Which is good for the rest of the world, because few of us will ever experience the view from 240 miles up. The astronaut's latest spectacular video, strung together from his images taken from the International Space Station, even captures a cameo appearance from the Lyrid metorite shower at its peak in the early hours of Sunday, April 22.

The meteorite streaks by as the Aurora Borealis glimmers in the background, while the lights of the Florida Keys break through the darkness of the night, and isolated lightning strikes splatter the skies.
Scroll down for video:

Streaker: The Lyrid meteor burns up as it hits our atmosphere at around 100,000mph. The lights of Florida are clearly visible to the left of the meteor, as are flashes of lightning

At the start of the video, the aurora glows over the horizon as the ISS hits the dark side of the Earth

More storms can be seen - and also the glare of the combined light of our cities reflecting off the upper reaches of the atmosphere

Don, who has been beaming back dozens of great videos since he started his second space mission in December, used six-second exposures to create his images.

The images - while gorgeous - also serve a purpose. NASA rearchers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will combine Don's images with their own earthbound observations, which in turn will help them test out various theories relating to meteorite showers.

The Lyrids have been reported in our skies for more than 2,600 years now, and occur as Earth moves throw the trail of dust left behind by the comet Thatcher. the shower occurs every year in mid-April, and cause spectacular light-shows across the world as the meteors hit the upper levels of our atmosphere at up to 110,000mph.

Last month Nasa released a compilation of the best of its time-lapse photography from space - many filmed by Don - accompanied by a suitable theme tune.

To the haunting sounds of Walking In The Air, written by Howard Blake for the film The Snowman, the four-minute tape zooms over the earth's surface from the International Space Station, shot by the Expedition 30 crew who boarded in November.

The breathtaking footage captured enchanting light displays and vivid weather systems across the globe in the last five months. it includes the Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean, Comet Lovejoy streaking across the sky and storms over Africa. Sadly, on July 1, Pettit will return to Earth, but hopefully he will leave his camera behind for the next visitors.

Don Pettit's 'Lyrid from Space' video:

Images and video of NASA's 'Walking in the Air' video:

Switched on: The images, including this of Central Europe to the Middle East, were shot by Expedition 30 since they set up home in the International Space Station last November

Heavenly: Comet Lovejoy captured on camera from the ISS when it tore across the sky in November

Out of this world: Aurora Australis above the Indian Ocean casts an eerie glow over the world which the astronauts captured 240 miles up

Spaced out: The astronauts use their time on board the ISS to carry out research and beam stunning images of earth back home

Over African skies: Storms throw vivid displays as the space station floats above the continent

Sparkling: Northern United States to Eastern Canada taken since by astronauts using time-lapse photography

Fly me to the moon: The footage was compiled by the astronauts to the soundtrack Walking In The Air