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Earth from Space – Night turns to day

The Mediterranean region at night

The Mediterranean region, illuminated by manmade lights and natural sources (moonlight, starlight etc).

ONE OF THE EXPEDITION 29 crewmembers aboard the International Space Station took this oblique angle photo showing the Mediterranean Sea area, including the Nile River and the river’s delta, and the Sinai Peninsula, on October 15, 2011. Cyprus is visible at left.

At first look, the image appears to have been photographed in daylight, but actually it was taken in the early hours of the morning, local time.

Some areas of the photo like the river and river delta appear as the brightest areas because of either man-made lighting (mostly incandescent) or man-made lighting reflected off nearby surfaces.

The rest of the region is illuminated naturally by moonlight, starlight, or back-scattered light from the atmosphere.

Also visible is a green band following the curve of the horizon. This is airglow.

Below is another, slightly wider view.

Download full-size, high-resolution versions of the images:

Image 1

Image 2

The Mediterranean region at night

A wider view photographed at roughly the same time.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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Earth from Space – Videos of our World

TAKE A LOOK AT THESE VIDEOS of our amazing planet. The footage was shot from the International Space Station, orbiting hundreds of kilometres above our head.

The videos are only short, and in some cases speeded up; nevertheless they give an incredible “astronauts’ eye view” of what various parts of our planet look like from space.

Story by Jonathan Nally. Videos courtesy NASA.

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The Nile at Night

Astronaut photo shows city lights along the River Nile and southern Mediterranean

Astronaut photo shows city lights along the River Nile and southern Mediterranean

One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, we see a population almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.

The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this astronaut photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower.

The smaller cities and towns within the Nile Delta tend to be hard to see amidst the dense agricultural vegetation during the day. However, these settled areas and the connecting roads between them become clearly visible at night. Likewise, urbanised regions and infrastructure along the Nile River becomes apparent.

Another brightly lit region is visible along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean—the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area in Israel (image right). To the east of Tel-Aviv lies Amman, Jordan.

The two major water bodies that define the western and eastern coastlines of the Sinai Peninsula—the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba—are outlined by lights along their coastlines (image lower right).

The city lights of Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, and Nicosia are visible on the island of Cyprus (image top).

See the full-size, high-resolution image here (will open in a new window or tab).

Scattered blue-grey clouds cover the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai, while much of northeastern Africa is cloud-free. A thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth’s curvature at image top is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at approximately 100 kilometres (60 miles) altitude.

Astronaut photograph provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Centre. Text adapted from information issued by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.

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