europe at night

Made this gif of Europe’s lights. Original link explains the real thing.

This new global view and animation of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet. Data provided by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

(click on image for a bigger view)


The reason why I didn’t include Eureopean northern countries (sorry for that) is that there wasn’t as much city light as in the rest of the continent and the only big light nucleus were its respective capitals.
Here’s a map of the number of visible stars in Europe. Northern countries have quite a lot of countryside and darkness and endless oppurtunieties to see the stars.

Northern Italy has the same population as Benelux on roughly the same area so the light density there is not as surprising. The Po River Valley is one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe. In between the Appenines and Alps, that’s where the lights are. It’s also not scarcely populated, there are (somewhat major) cities like Bologna, Piacenza, Milan, Turin, Genoa and many others. And this is mainly why Belgium is lit up like that. Belgium actually stopped using most of them as a means to save energy costs. You’ll only find working ones at exits now. If you drive on the highways at night now, you’ll find loads of unlit traffic lights standing by the road.
I can think of some ways to spend that energy though. Surely the industrial sector would love some cheap energy at night.

Surprising that Warsaw shines brighter than Berlin. And also, the border between northeastern Portugal and Spain surprises me a little bit, I would expect it to be the other way around, more lights on the Spanish side than on the Portuguese side. It’s pretty equal through Galicia but I understand the border with Castille. The population in that area tends to be very centralized wheras it’s much more distributed through northern Portugal.

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