City Lights from Space

By Village Mayor • Mar 4th, 2009 • Category: Latest Post, Miscellaneous

To an observer in space, humanity’s footprints on the surface of the Earth are large and varied.

By day, cities viewed from space can blend into the countryside, or appear as gray smudges, depending on the style of development and size of the urban area. At night however, city lights present the space observer spectacular evidence of our existence, our distribution, and our ability to change our environment.

The Night Lights of Europe

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

A few years ago, NASA and NOAA joined forces to present the first world map of the nighttime Earth using 9 months of data collected by satellite from an altitude of 830 kilometers (515 miles) above Earth.

The Night Lights of the United States

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Looking east from a location southwest of Ireland

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

London from Space

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

NASA claim that it’s a digital camera photo of London at night, taken from the International Space Station in February 2003. North is to the top, and slightly to the left, so rotate the image clockwise slightly to get the familiar orientation.

Japan and South Korea

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Tokyo, Japan

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Like many Japanese cities, the night lights of Tokyo, Japan, have a blue-green glow that comes from mercury vapor lighting.

North California

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Los Angeles, California, USA

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Long Beach, California, USA

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Orange sodium vapor lights illuminate the port facilities of Long Beach, California, supporting the round-the-clock operations of one of the world’s busiest commercial cargo ports.


(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Montreal , Canada

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Chicago, IL, USA

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Chicago, Illinois, is home to roughly three million people, but the wider metropolitan area includes nearly 10 million.

Denver, Colorado

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

The streets of Denver, Colorado, are aligned with the cardinal directions.

Jiddah and Mecca, Saudi Arabia

(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC)

The cities of Jiddah and Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are connected by a well-lit pilgrim road.

Sources: 1 | 2

Astronaut photographs are provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment, and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

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