Spectacular ISS shots of cities at night (pictures)
A crowdsourcing effort is underway to catalog over 300,000 images of Earth at night taken from the International Space Station. Here's a gallery of the best shots of our planet's nocturnal side.
Through a project dubbed Cities at Night, volunteers are being asked to help catalog and geotag thousands of photos of Earth at night taken from the International Space Station. This particular image has already been positively identified as showing North Korea (the dark area) and South Korea (the brightly light area in the lower right) at night.
The exact location of this photo hasn't been confirmed yet, but it was likely taken somewhere over Hungary or another part of Eastern Europe. The green and blue lights of the aurora borealis are visible on the right.
This should be unmistakable to particularly astute urbanites as a shot of the New York City area. The bright lights of midtown Manhattan are visible just to the left of center, with the dark rectangle of Central Park just to the left of that.
Here's one spot where astronomers were likely looking back out at space at the same moment this picture was snapped. This is the island of Hawaii, which is basically just a handful of big volcanoes with some small cities clinging to their edges. On top of the volcano Mauna Kea at the center of the island is one of the most important collections of terrestrial telescopes on Earth, including the powerful Keck telescopes.
China shines brightly in this photo of central Shanghai at night. This shot seems to be more close-up, but those lights certainly give Tokyo and New York a run for their money when it comes to being crowned king of light pollution.
This represents my contribution to the citizen science project to catalog these photos. While the best guess the community had so far placed it somewhere in the nation of Georgia, I recognized it as a photo I saw last winter of Sochi, Russia, during the Winter Olympics.