Watching the Earth step through the seasons in this zoetrope of cloud-free satellite images is strangely mesmerizing. While the Orbital Carbon Observatory will soon be tracking how the planet breaths, this is a planetary heartbeat of seasonal change.

A zoetrope is any animation where stacks of static images combine to create the illusion of motion. In digital terms, it's an animated GIF. The idea of stacking images of the Earth to create time lapses of ice growth and retreat, vegetative die-off and regrowth, and the seasonal rhythms in our world is nothing new, but this particular execution is lovely. It doesn't hurt that creator John Nelson is adorably touched by seeing our planet from this perspective, and gave a handy how-to guide for anyone looking to create a similar sequence.

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Image credit: John Nelson. View additional resolutions and views on IDV Solutions.