Cities at Night Panorama of Millions of US East Coast Earthlings

by Ken Kremer on February 4, 2012

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Night time Panorama of US East Coast from the ISS
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) captured this stunning nighttime panorama of the major cities along the East Coast of the United States on Jan. 29, 2012. Credit: NASA

Do you live here?

Tens of millions of Earthlings live and work in the bustling and seemingly intertwined American mega-metropolis of the Philadelphia-New York City-Boston corridor (bottom-center splotch) captured in this stunning “Cities at Night” panorama of the East Coast of the United States along the Atlantic seaboard (image above).

Look northward and you’ll see the home to millions more Earthlings inhabiting the brilliantly lit Canadian cities of Toronto (launch site for “Lego Man in Space“) and Montreal to the west of Lake Ontario (dark oval at left-center).

The gorgeous panorama showing a portion of the Earth at Night and the atmospheric limb and light activity from the Aurora Borealis was snapped by the Expedition 30 crew living and working aboard the million pound International Space Station (ISS) on Jan. 29.

Lately, the 6 man international crew of Expedition 30 from Russia, Holland and the US have been on a roll taking one after another magnificent Nighttime pictures of our Home Planet, Auroras’ and celestial wonders like Comet Lovejoy.

Be sure to take a comparative look at the recent panorama of Western Europe at Night snapped by the ISS crew a week before on Jan 22 – here.

To test your geography smarts, here’s a map of the US East Coast highlighting much of what’s visible in the ISS panorama.

This Earthling has lived in cities on the US East Coast and Western Europe – images above and below

Western Europe at Night
European ‘Cities at Night’ from the ISS with station solar arrays and robotic hand in foreground. Credit: NASA

Two years ago in Feb. 2010, the US East Coast was struck by “Snowmageddon”, and this is how we looked from space

Meanwhile, two of the Expedition 30 crew members, Russian Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov, are preparing for a spacewalk on Friday, Feb. 16. They will be installing equipment outside the ISS on the Russian Pirs, Poisk and Zvezda modules.


Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC,, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 4:36 AM

I can see my house! I hope this is a time lapse and it’s not really this bright!

Joanne MacDonald February 4, 2012 at 4:40 AM

What? Only Maine???
Is that not Eastern Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, & Newfoundland seen in the far right?
…Or did you give them instructions to go black for this photo?

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 7:22 AM

I’m laughing at the map used – originating in Germany, and the font for Montreal is identical to Ottawa’s (Canada’s capital), and Toronto which is by far the largest city in Canada and eighth largest in North America, seems to be designated “insignificant”.

Ken Kremer February 6, 2012 at 2:33 AM

wrong – the font for Ottawa is bigger

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM

And where is the room for all the other creatures of the planet? I get nauseous every time I see these pictures. There are solutions to the over population problem. I only wish we were making an effort.

Glenn D. Nile

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

What a ridiculous statement!

John Swift February 4, 2012 at 7:24 PM

What’s ridiculous about it?

+ a rate of reproduction faster than death + a finite world or area = overpopulation.

What else is there to it?

The Truth February 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM

To jferal and not so Swift: Read “The Population Bomb” by Paul Erlich sp? and see what an idiot this guy was. It can now be read as comic relief –especially his predictions. What a hoot. I had to read this crap in college and as an 18 year old kid I fell for it -BIG TIME. As an adult I can now see what a huckster he was. BTW, anyone who thinks overpopulation is a big problem can of course do the supreme altruistic gesture and go off yourself. This will actually accomplish something positive namely improving the gene pool.

Anonymous February 6, 2012 at 5:16 AM

There are many more appropriate blogs elsewhere for such drivel.
(I’m waiting for your complaint of the nightmare-ish carbon footprint the ISS has caused since its conception!)
Just enjoy the view – you’re missing a whole lot of beauty by letting your ill-found angst control your life.
Failing that, as was suggested – if over-population is such a concern for you there is a way you can make a direct contribution to reduce it!

John Swift February 7, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Woah. Are you talking to me, zkank? Please turn that down a notch.

What do you mean by “ill-found angst”? I’m not mad or angry at all. Nothing’s “controlling” my life. I see, I think, I type.

As far as that “carbon footprint” stuff… It seems, more likely than not, it was a scam to get another excuse for taxing industry. Our government (and others) will do just about anything for more tax dollars, it seems.

Not sure what that has to do with this, other than anti-optimism. That just happens to coincide, and it seems the subject of man’s “carbon footprint” is much more of a political issue than a scientific debate. Honestly, there’s so much money getting exchanged, I can’t tell who’s right.

I understand most of my opinions are based on subjective logic rather than factual evidence. Please try to fight it with more logic or some good facts (such as Truth’s referring to “The Population Bomb, showing one of the many failed doomsday predictions), rather than the ol’ “please, kill yourself to support your point”.

It saddens me to think most of the problems in developing countries could be solved by a little population control. If they kept their population in check with food supplies, they wouldn’t be so devastated when a famine comes around. As a matter of fact, they shouldn’t have a “hunger” issue at all, from my understanding.

Please understand… I’m praising population control for being perhaps the most easily available method of improving the individual’s standard of living. Is the average standard of living so great we shouldn’t bother thinking of ways to improve it? It’s possible that population control isn’t necessary at all, but it seems to be a matter of “why not”, rather than “why”.

Why do most seem to think “population control” is predominantly evil or dark?

Isn’t improving the standard of living for as many individuals as possible practically the meaning of life, if there is one? What’s wrong with that?

Also, keep in mind… I haven’t even discussed “how” population control should work. I honestly don’t know. Maybe you’re assuming I want to see a large portion of the human race die overnight? I never said anything like that. Why are you proposing I kill myself, given my intentions?

Anonymous February 6, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Thank you very much for your articulate, imaginative, constructive comment. I appreciate the contribution of your obviously valuable time. You have a good one now miss.

From: Disqus
Sent: Saturday, February 4, 2012 10:43 AM
Subject: [universetoday] Re: Cities at Night Panorama of Millions of US East Coast Earthlings

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zkank wrote, in response to jferal:
What a ridiculous statement!
Link to comment

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

And this is how we may one day think there is a civilization on some distant planet.

Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 5:33 PM

“Gorgeous panorama”? I suppose that the sheen of oil on the ocean, or billows of smoke emerging from a towering smokestack can also be gorgeous, but all I see in these photos (not including the natural airglow) is millions ow watt hours of power being wasted to light up the sky. Gorgeous, in my book, would be having the people in those urban areas be able to look up and see things like stars and auroras, because the outdoor lighting installations surrounding them were engineered to illuminate the areas of activity on the ground, rather than blasting light out in all directions.

John Giroux February 6, 2012 at 6:18 AM

I agree with you 1000%… my EXACT thoughts….

Anonymous February 6, 2012 at 3:21 AM

Since Elizabeth May got into Ottawa, all the lights have turned off! :p Nice shot. Wish it were a few degrees to the west, get a nice view of the full Golden Horseshoe.

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