'Aurora Touching Sunrise'

There's nothing as awe-inspiring as a view of Earth as seen from space. Sure, it's mainly astronauts on the International Space Station who get a front-row seat, but at least everyone else is able to live vicariously through them, thanks to the wonders of photography.

Whether it's "The Blue Marble," "Earthrise" or even Carl Sagan's famous "Pale Blue Dot" video, these kinds of visuals offer a powerfully humble perspective of humanity and the environment. Existential babble aside, portraits of the Earth are just downright fascinating.

In the short (but sweet) time-lapse above, witness a brilliant green aurora borealis giving way to a bright blue sunrise. NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore captured the images on Feb. 4 as the International Space Station flew over the northeastern United States. If you look closely, you can recognize some of the region's cities, including Washington, D.C, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.