02 April 2008

The Earth at Night

I describe a lot of the images in this blog as "amazing" or "awesome," but that's because I'm selecting out the most impressive things I find in the ocean of mundane items on the web. Of all the images I've seen in the past few weeks, NASA's depiction of our planet at night is arguably the most jaw-dropping.

The photo embedded above is a small portion of the complete image, which was stitched together from hundreds of individual photos. To see the entire earth at night, go to THIS LINK.

Notice how the population of Egypt concentrates along the banks of the Nile, or the Canadians at the southern border of their country. You can see where the Trans-Siberian RR crosses the interior of Asia. North Korea is black, while South Korea is incandescent. Fishing boat fleets are shown in blue, and gas flares (presumably at oilfields and refineries) are evident off the coast of Nigeria, in the Gulf, and in central Russia. The photo legend describes the red color as "wildfires," which presumably includes also cooking fires, the concentration of which in the tropical forests of the world is striking (and saddening).

Lots of information, beautifully depicted.

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