British Columbia

Planet Earth in 4K video goes interstellar with 1M views on YouTube

Victoria man James Tyrwhitt-Drake used HD images from a Russian satellite to create an incredibly detailed view of Earth from space.

B.C. man James Tyrwhitt-Drake used images from Russian satellite to create HD view of Earth from space

A Victoria man's HD video showing Earth from space in incredible detail has been viewed more than one million times online.

James Tyrwhitt-Drake, a graduate student at the University of Victoria dedicated himself to compiling the high-definition images, which he sourced from Russian authorities.

Tyrwhitt-Drake told On The Island's Sterling Eyford it all started with one simple image back in 2011.

"I found an image of the Earth, and it was a small corner of the Earth and you could see the moon in the background," he said.

"Then I found the same image, but it was the whole [of] Earth and I thought, 'Wow, this must be a really high resolution picture.'"

Tyrwhitt-Drake traced the image to a Russian weather satellite called Elektro-L.

"I found out where their data was processed and I wrote an email. I translated it into Russian and then I translated it back into English to make sure it made sense," he said.

A few months later, Tyrwhitt-Drake received access to gigabytes of high-resolution images from the satellite, which remains in the same position relative to the Earth due to the speed of its orbit.

Tyrwhitt-Drake said he spent about three months in all going through the photos and creating a timelapse, which he originally released on YouTube in 2011.

But his real luck came when YouTube recently launched a higher resolution option for its users, called 4K.

"I came back to the data and I reprocessed it, and I did a little bit more just to make it more perfect," said Tyrwhitt-Drake.

He re-released the video, which is posted in two different resolutions,  and has now been seen more than a million times.

"For me, it's really a passion. It's something that I find very fun, and it's kind of addictive as well," he said.

To hear more about the Planet Earth in 4K video, click the audio labelled: UVic student's high-def space video goes viral.

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