Sunday, April 6, 2008

cities at night from the space station

this video is just so awesome in so many ways!! folks on the international space station (ISS) managed to rig up a little camera system to track the earth against their orbital motion, in order to get focused nighttime images with resolution of 60 meters! i find that taking digital photos at night is extremely difficult anyway, because i want to expose for a little longer in order to not use the flash that always ruins the mood.... imagine wanting to take an image to share with everyone of the amazing night lights of a city on the surface of the earth from your vantage point... 400 km (250 miles) above the surface, moving at 27,700 km/hour!! a tough task!

aside from the impressive technological innovation of the picture takers on the ISS... the commentary by Don Pettit is quite interesting! this presents a surprisingly cool study of the various types of geographic geometry that cities on different continents maintain. the perspective from above is not one easily gathered or perceived by foot on the earth. how fun would it be to be able to identify exactly where you were above the surface of the earth, from seeing the pattern of lights of the city below you. just wow!

aside from the worrying perspective this video provides regarding light pollution... i think its super cool! thanks skepchicks!


Ed said...

Don Pettit... has a... very... unusual... cadence... when he... speaks.

Anonymous said...

las vegas.. the beacon of.. humanity.

FlyingSinger said...

Cool, thanks - I saw Pettit present this last May at ISDC 2007 in Dallas. I had to post on it too!

Julia said...

Those were really cool pictures that were so fun to see, but we too were cracking up a bit at the narrator and the really dramatic music. :)