Fantastical spectacles from space: 5 stunning views from 15 years at the ISS (VIDEO)

When Expedition 1 reached the International Space Station on November 2, 2000, neither GoPro, nor YouTube had been invented, and most people only saw momentary glimpses from space on the news. The ISS and Earth-made technology have changed all that.

Here are five of the most captivating sequences shot from the space station.

Made in 2011, this is the most popular ISS video on the internet – and deservedly so. Hundreds of photos were combined and put into a time lapse sequence, creating a fantastical odyssey, which is, nonetheless, absolutely real. As the music booms, our eyes sweep over networks of roads and settlements, flashing storms, and mysterious auroras above – a sight that make us see our home planet with fresh eyes.

Docking two objects in the vastness of space within a precision of just a centimeter is one of the most impressive feats of space technology. Even with the help of experience and modern computer technology, this is still the most nerve-wracking moment for those inside the space station and back at ground control. In this time-lapse footage, a Soyuz craft successfully docks with the ISS back in March.

Capturing ISS spacewalks is an area of photography that has benefited from technological advantages more than others. Whereas once we marveled at sheer statistics, now we can witness the desolation, difficulty, and exhilaration of being tethered to a fast moving space station by only a cable while performing complex manual tasks first hand through GoPro.

READ MORE: 6 months of Earth in 6 mins: Astronaut shares ISS voyage in stunning time-lapse video

In this video from August, Expedition 44 commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Mikhail Kornienko go on a five-hour spacewalk to replace bolts, take photos, and collect an experimental station lodged on the outside – routine jobs, but not in space.

Watching massive weather events unfold as if on forecaster’s map has become one of the ISS crew’s favorite pastimes. The most recent video spectacle is from last month’s Hurricane Patricia, which produced the most powerful cyclone winds ever recorded.

The ISS orbits the Earth 16 times a day, so a sunset is not a rarity for those on-board. But witnessing one from space is a different experience – the sun appears not as a small yellow disk, but a blinding white flash that silhoeuttes our entire planet in a view as alien as it is spectacular. The video above is from early October, exhibited in another time-lapse sequence.

READ MORE: Most jaw-dropping locations and events on Earth photographed from ISS