Posted: 01/20/12 08:26 AM ET Updated: 01/20/12 04:30 PM ET
The view from the International Space Station never ceases to amaze.
After all, at about 240 miles above, and orbiting at the Earth roughly 17,000 miles per hour, it offers a rare and spectacular view of the home planet.
A recent time-lapse video composed of a series of photos taken by the Expedition 30 crew on Dec. 29, 2011, shows Mother Earth in all her glory.
According to the NASA-Johnson Space Center, the video starts as the ISS passes over southeastern Niger in central Africa and continues to the Indian Ocean, southeast of Madagascar.
As the space station passes over Africa, lightning can be seen on the ground and the Milky Way looms on the horizon. The sun is beginning to rise over the Indian Ocean just as the video ends.
To give you an idea of how fast the ISS travels, the pictures in the video were taken over only a 20-minute period.
We had trouble seeing it, but NASA insists that the Lovejoy Comet is visible near the Milky Way. Let us know in the comments if you're able to spot it.
And if you're itching for more time-lapse videos from space, check out HuffPost's collection of 2011 space and sky videos.
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