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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Africa at night from space


I’ve decided to post these two pictures to show the interesting distribution pattern of electricity (lights) on earth. The brightest areas are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated regions.


Earth Lights – Africa

Picture Courtesy of: www.nightskynation.com

In the above image of Africa, it is hard to ignore the brightly lit European region in the north, which looks like a huge gecko-monster.

The Gauteng province in South Africa is clearly visible, and shows up as one of the largest urbanized regions on the continent. Note the interesting light thread running along the Nile River, up north in Egypt, and also the urbanized coastal regions in Northern Africa (to the left of Egypt) along the southern Mediterranean coastline of Morocco and Algeria, - (directly opposite the brightly illuminated country of Spain).

Earth Lights - Global View

Picture Courtesy of: visibleearth.nasa.gov

The global view depicted above shows how cities tend to grow along coastlines and transportation routes. The United States interstate highway system appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centres. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian railroad is a thin line stretching from Moscow through the centre of Asia to Vladivostok. It’s amazing how the northern lights in Europe, as well as the lights in the USA completely dominate the scene.

These images of Earth’s city lights was created with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS). Originally designed to view clouds by moonlight, the OLS is also used to map the locations of permanent lights on the Earth’s surface.

Source: visibleearth.nasa.gov

Related Posts:

Switching off the planet (Earth Hour)

Spectacular meteor sighting in Southern Africa

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