The View from Space: Northwestern Europe at Night

Article written: 29 Aug , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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Astronauts always say the view of Earth is the best part of being in space. Here’s a beautiful shot of northwestern Europe at night. The landscape is dotted with clusters of lights from individual urban areas; visible are London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam, which stand out due to their large light “footprints,” while the English Channel is completely dark.

This photograph was taken by one of the Expedition 28 crewmembers on the International Space Station (ISS) and was taken with a short camera lens, providing the wide field of view. To give a sense of scale, the centers of the London and Paris metropolitan areas are approximately 340 kilometers (210 miles) from each other.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory website

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12 Responses

  1. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    All I see is light pollution – total waste of energy!

    • Anonymous says

      And your hamster runs your computer?

      • Member
      • Rob Hemmings says

        My computer uses less energy than one streetlamp, is switched-off when not in use and doesn’t cause any light pollution at all. What exactly is your point?

      • Rob Hemmings says

        My computer uses less energy than one streetlamp, is switched-off when not in use and doesn’t cause any light pollution at all. What exactly is your point?

      • Anonymous says

        Before you become all too self righteous, my point is that our modern lives cause light and energy pollution and the manufacture of your dear, seemingly guiltless computer and its energy source (whatever it may be), away from where you are witness, is also a polluter. So you and Ivan and all the rest who pretend innocence at the sight of Europe ablaze with electricity consumption should not play the role of indignant bystander amateur astronomers and, at the very least, confess your complicit role in the very complex problem of light and energy pollution.

      • Icarus says

        How right you are! It is all about the Carbon Footprint and the impact of our growth. Read Out of Gas to understand the scale of the problem we are ignoring.

      • Anonymous says

        Thank you Icarus. How surprising, though, that followers of an astronomy blog so vainly try to avoid admitting their own role in the interrelated and complex problem of light and energy pollution.

      • Anonymous says

        Thank you Icarus. How surprising, though, that followers of an astronomy blog so vainly try to avoid admitting their own role in the interrelated and complex problem of light and energy pollution.

      • Icarus says

        Study ‘clouding’ and look at the energy needs of Data Centers. Light pollution and rampant blind energy use are intertwined.

  2. Anonymous says

    Another dramatic view from space of man’s run-away urbanization. Below the silent darkness, vast islands of concrete sprawl over the Earth’s surface, above which the ancient stars of heaven’s celestial beauty have long since disappeared into an all-pervasive sky glow. Around the ragged shores of these bustling centers of civilization, nature’s shrinking seas of darkness groan under the weight of their pressing expansion. And before the widening shorelines of these megalopolises, the natural environments inexorably recede over the horizons of multitudes more, lost to personal sight, beyond the cold, angular horizons of relentless growth – eventually to disappear from the mind, and heart of too many.

    O, for a quiet, open meadow of unbroken sky, or the simple serenity of a natural woodland of fragrant air, embraced in soft shadow of peaceful light. Or, for the soothing sound of a gentle stream coursing through quiet valley of tranquil peace in life’s hues of green. To millions more, each year ( if not each month ), such longings can only be realized in pleasant dreams of night.

  3. Paul Freedman says

    Actually , the part of Holland that you see is not only amsterdam but also Rotterdam, The Hague and the Europort Harbor area. I know this because i live close to Rotterdam.

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