You only have to walk outside at night, look up and not see the Milky Way to know that light pollution is a problem. And seen from space at night, the Earth’s surface glows with the light of millions of homes, buildings, cars and streetlights. Seen at night, our impact on the Earth is immediate and obvious.
A few years ago, NASA and NOAA compiled a complete world map of the nighttime Earth, using 9 months of data collected by satellites. This “Night Lights” image is pretty famous, and widely circulated around the Internet.
There’s a great article at NASA’s Earth Observatory that describes how they capture these night images of the Earth’s surface. You can also see many of the best images taken so far.
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2 Replies to “The Earth’s Cities at Night”
I can see your house from here.
An amazing and awful display of light pollution that has come to our urban areas.
The brown glow looks like a blight.
So the people of our cities can no longer see the stars. When they can’t see the stars, they won’t know what all the fuss is about when it comes to space exploration. As a result, they won’t support space exploration and our civilization will slowly stagnate and die out.
Then the light pollution will be gone, but by then it will be too late to matter.
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