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Earth's Lights at Night

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London, England, United Kingdom

Credit: NASA

On Earth, we gaze up into the night sky to see the bright pinpoint-light of stars and our fellow planets. But from high above the surface, astronauts and…Read More »









satellites look down on us and the blotches of light created by our urban areas.

Here we see what some of Earth's major cities look like at night.

This nighttime view of the British capital offers unique insight into the city's urban density and infrastructure as highlighted by electrical lighting. Interpreting the brightest areas as the most populated, the population density drops off rapidly from the bright urban center until it reaches the vicinity of the Orbital, an encircling roadway.

Beyond lie isolated bright areas marking the numerous smaller cities and towns of the region and as far southeast as Hastings on the coast. Note London's two major airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, and the particularly bright, sinuous stretch of the Orbital to the south of the city.

The crew of the International Space Station acquired this image shortly after 7:22 p.m. local time on the evening of February 4, 2003. Either thin, low clouds or perhaps fog is evident in the fuzzy character of patterns for some of the surrounding smaller cities while that of the warmer urban center is still clear and sharp.   Less «
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