Lights Of The World by Contemporary Photography


Lights Of The World


Contemporary Photography

Ref RW71372-B1
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This image of Earth’s city lights was supplied by NASA. The technology was originally developed to allow scientists to view clouds by moonlight but it was subsequently also used to map the locations of permanent lights on the Earth’s surface. Unsurprisingly, the brightest areas of the Earth’s surface occur around major cities but these are not necessarily the areas with the highest population, as can be seen from a comparison of the lights around western Europe with those in China and India. The map also shows the way in which cities tend to grow along coastlines and transport networks. Even without the underlying map, the outlines of many continents would still be visible. For instance, the east and west seaboards of the United States and the coastline of much of western Europe is clearly marked, whilst the interstate highway system in the United States appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centers. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian railroad is a thin line stretching from Moscow through the centre of Asia to Vladivostok. The Nile River, from the Aswan Dam to the Mediterranean Sea, is another bright thread through an otherwise dark region. Even more than 100 years after the invention of the electric light, some regions remain thinly populated and unlit. Antarctica is entirely dark. The interior jungles of Africa and South America are mostly dark, although lights are beginning to appear there. Deserts in Africa, Arabia, Australia, Mongolia, and the United States are generally poorly lit, as are the forests of Canada and Russia and the great mountains of the Himalayas.