World Cities At Night From Space

The NASA Astronauts have been taking photographs of various world cities at night from the Space Shuttle. These images are a great way to visualize urban growth and transportation networks of cities. They also provide some insight into how cities in different countries develop. Some cities are constructed on a nice grid pattern, others have a central core without multiple transportation rings, and some appear to be completely disorganized.

NASA has put together a feature article displaying some of these images and a description of how they are captured.  Many other similar images can be found by searching the Gateway To Astronaut Photography of Earth.   I have taken several of the images and imported them as overlays in Google Earth.   The image quality is good, but not great, as it looks like the astronauts are using off-the-shelf cameras for this.

The following cities are included in this collection.  If you find any other good nighttime city imagery in the NASA image archives, post a comment and I’ll try to add it.

  • Beijing, China
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Chicago, USA
  • Denver, USA
  • Las Vegas, USA
  • London, England
  • Long Beach, USA
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • Montreal, Canada
  • San Paulo, Brazil
  • Seoul, South Korea


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