Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Lights. . . . from Space

While it may seem that some neighborhood holiday light displayss are bright enough to be seen from space, they are generally drowned out by the normal over-lit brilliance of city lights.

As sort of an Advent I am posting nighttime photos of cities from space - one photo each day of the month.
Image from NASA's The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
For December 1 we are starting with an image taken December 8, 2010 by the International Space Station's Expedition 26 crew.  It shows the Arizona cities of Phoenix (top) and Tucson.

The two cities are a study in contrast in many ways - chief among them is how they choose to regulate (or not) light at night.  Tucson has an effective outdoor lighting ordinance that has helped to limit light pollution even in the face of huge population growth. Phoenix? Not so much.  In fact the glow from Phoenix can be seen from all of the astronomical research observatories in the state. :(

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