19 July 2009

Six views of our planet

These are composite pictures in which every part of the Earth's surface is shown as it appears at night, with almost all illumination coming from artificial sources, so that brightness indicates popu-lation density and economic development. Click any picture for a larger version.

1. View centered on the North Pole. The closely-related civiliza-tions of America, Europe, and Russia surround the Arctic and form a distinct northern tier of the world.

2. View centered on the Congo basin, showing the great difference in magnitude of power generation between Europe and Africa, though the two continents are roughly equal in population.

3. View centered on Moscow.

4. View centered on the Gobi desert. Clearly visible are the Indian subcontinent, eastern Asia, and southeast Asia -- together, home to two-thirds of humanity.

5. View centered on Australia.

6. View centered on our country.


Anonymous Cameron said...

I'm always struck by the Nile River at night in these type of photos. It stands so starkly against the black of the surrounding desert. The illumination divide in the two Koreas is also quite notable.

South America seems to have been overlooked in your collection. It's only obliquely visible in the North American shot.

20 July, 2009 03:00  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The population density in the Nile valley, and the contrast with the surrounding desert, is staggering. I've been there. There's probably nowhere else in the world where the line between farmland and desert is so sharp.

The contrast between the two Koreas is indeed striking. Notice also how much Hong Kong stands out, even though it's far from being the largest city in China. Bangkok, too, is surprisingly prominent.

20 July, 2009 07:10  

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