Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 December 7
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Europe at Night
Illustration Credit & Copyright: Planetary Visions Ltd.; Courtesy: Kevin M. Tildsley

Explanation: Can you find your favorite European city? The above digital fantasy of Europe at Night is a digital composite of archived satellite images taken both during the day and night. This image is different from what an astronaut would see for reasons including a complete lack of clouds and an unrealistic exaggeration of lights and contrasts. Even so, the geography underlying the image is captivating. Nighttime light patterns have been accumulated from the USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System.

Tomorrow's picture: ringer

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