Lighter than the Nile: This incredible picture of North Africa at night taken from the International Space Station shows The world’s most famous river, The Nile looks like a mighty glowing snake thanks to the settlements along it’s banks – and the practically uninhabited deserts of night that lay beyond


Lighten up! Incredible space shots show how Earth comes alive at night with millions of lights visible from orbit



The world’s most famous river glows in the night sky in this breath-taking photograph from space.

Astronauts were able to use unmanned satellites and space stations to capture the incredible lights coming from thousands of settlements along the banks of The Nile, in Egypt.

Even though parts of the country have yet to receive electricity or running water, the twinkling lights show how many people have set up their homes along the river. Just a few miles from the glowing snakes is the darkness of he practically uninhabited deserts that lay beyond.

The picture is among several others that were taken to provide a space tour of the planet Earth lit up at night as it has never been seen before. 

Lighter than the Nile: This incredible picture of North Africa at night taken from the International Space Station shows The world’s most famous river, The Nile looks like a mighty glowing snake thanks to the settlements along it’s banks – and the practically uninhabited deserts of night that lay beyond

As electrified civilisation has spread across the Earth, human settlements now light up the surface of the planet more than at any time in history – as the pictures dramatically show.

The images were taken by astronaut Paolo Nespoli and unmanned satellites floating 230 miles miles above the Earth.
  
The UK and Ireland are so developed that by night they resemble islands of light floating in the dark Atlantic Ocean.
A shot taken above the English Channel shows how France and England are like electricity grids ablaze with billions of volts of power.

The Italian peninsula is a neon boot kicking the lit-up island of Sicily while Montreal is a fiery heart spreading in all directions.

Glowing: The immense amount of light streaming up into the night sky from Britain and Europe can be seen here

Glowing: The immense amount of light streaming up into the night sky from Britain and Europe can be seen here. Borderes between countries are shown in white and Germany is at the centre

Ablaze: This shot of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, shows how the city centre resembles a pool of molten lava
Ablaze: This shot of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, shows how the city centre resembles a pool of molten lava surrounded by hundreds of tributaries, which are actually rows of streets

Brazil is a sprawling patchwork of vast suburbs each one pouring light into the atmosphere while even Libya’s north coast is illuminated.

Nespoli captured some of the incredible shots while he was a crew member of Expedition 27 alongside Russian Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Nasa astronaut Cady Coleman.

The trio began their mission with the departure of the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft on in December 2010 and spent six months on the ISS working on microgravity experiments.

 

They landed in Kazakhstan on May 24, days before Endeavour concluded its final mission on June 1. Endeavour was on the next-to-last mission of Nasa’s 30-year space shuttle programme. Nasa’s shuttle fleet is retiring after one last flight next month with a load of supplies for the station.

This photograph of Brasilia, Brazil shows a slightly less dense area of the population, neatly arranged around the city's main region
Streetlight: This photograph of Brasilia, Brazil shows a slightly less dense area of the population, neatly arranged around the city’s main region, with curved roads stretching out across the darkness

Darkness: The north coast of Libya - now the seen of relentless fighting - appears calm by night
Darkness: The north coast of Libya – now the seen of relentless fighting – appears calm by night with a large concentration of settlements around on of the main oil ports and other buildings further west but virtually nothing on the mainland SPACE – JANUARY 3: Photograph of Tripoli, Libya at night, as seen from the International Space Station on January 3, 2011 in Space. These extraordinary pictures provide a space tour of the planet Earth lit up at night as you’ve never seen it before. As our electrified civilisation has spread across the Earth human settlements now light up the surface of the planet more than at any time in history – as these pictures dramatically show. The United Kingdom and Ireland are so developed that by night they resemble islands of light floating in the dark Atlantic Ocean. The Italian peninsula is a neon boot kicking the lit-up island of Sicily. The world’s most famous river, The Nile looks like a mighty glowing snake thanks to the settlements along it’s

United power rates: A handful of relatively dense settlements can be seen along the U.S. east coast but across the vast expanse of land only a few buildings are scattered, as the picture from the International Space Station shows
United power rates: A handful of relatively dense settlements can be seen along the U.S. east coast but across the vast expanse of land only a few buildings are scattered, as the picture from the International Space Station shows

Commander Mark Kelly, Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori and Endeavour’s four other astronauts – Gregory Johnson, Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff and Andrew Feustel – had returned to Earth after 16 days in space of repairs at International Space Station.

The crew installed a $2billion cosmic ray detector, an extension beam and a platform full of spare parts, enough to keep the station operating in the shuttle-less decade ahead.
The $2.2billion ship, the youngest of the shuttles with 123 million miles over 25 flights, is now bound for the California Space Center in Los Angeles.

Nasa is leaving the Earth-to-orbit business behind to focus on expedition to asteroids and Mars.

Private companies hope to pick up the slack for cargo and crew hauls to the space station.

Until then, Americans will continue hitching rides to the station aboard Russian Soyuz capsules at the cost of tens of millions of dollars a seat.

About these ads