image (929 Kb)
view of the British capital offers unique insight into the city's
urban density and infrastructure as highlighted by electrical lighting.
Interpreting the brightest areas as the most populated, the population
density drops off rapidly from the bright urban center until it
reaches the vicinity of the Orbital, an encircling roadway. Beyond
lie isolated bright areas marking the numerous smaller cities and
towns of the region and as far southeast as Hastings on the coast.
Note London's two major airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, and the
particularly bright, sinuous stretch of the Orbital to the south
of the city.
The crew of
the International Space Station acquired this image shortly after
7:22 p.m. local time on the evening of February 4, 2003. Either
thin, low clouds or perhaps fog is evident in the fuzzy character
of patterns for some of the surrounding smaller cities, while that
of the warmer urban center is still clear and sharp.
was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory
at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway
to Astronaut Photography of Earth.