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Video – Cities at Night courtesy of NASA

From NASA and the International Space Station comes a 10 minute video looking down on those of us more Earth-bound. One of photography’s super powers is the ability to alter our perspective by taking us places we wouldn’t be able to go on our own or sharing an otherwise seldom seen view. The more I see of the world the more humble it makes me. One of my favourite quotes comes from Astronaut Neil Armstrong speaking about what he saw from the moon; “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

There is certainly some interesting tech at work here specifically having to rig, from spare parts, a barn door tracker to compensate for the orbital rotation which had previously limited the quality of photographs requiring longer exposures. I talk a lot about the magic of photography, but really, there is something magical about shooting the lights of our cities from the darkness of space and being able to see in detail the shape of cities and the roads that lead outward into an earthly darkness. It strikes me that these lights on Earth appear almost like far off Galaxies deep in space. Yet they also appear familiar shaped by familiar geography, streets and highways. Looking down on London and Cairo remind me of walking along the banks of the Thames and Nile rivers, it reminds of looking up at a sky filled with light pollution obscuring the stars above and feeling like these cities were stretched infinitely outward from where I was standing. From the space station, however, these cities finite maybe even accessible. What a difference a change in perspective makes.

Update:

I was remiss in not posting the link to the original article:

Cities At Night

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Posted by robshaer on January 16, 2013

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