There is an ambiguous luster in the satellite images of Earth at night. While on a ground level our cities appear as purely cultural artifacts, a traveler from outer space might just as well marvel at them as beautifully glowing organic fungi-like structures that sprouted on our planet. Less than a millennium ago, the Earth at night was all dark. Today it is all glowing and blossoming.

The website Cities at Night collects images that astronauts have taken of Earth at night. It organizes them on a map, and draws them from a much larger resource: the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, a NASA-organized database of all photos taken by astronauts in space. The different typologies of cities are striking. Warp to the website or scroll down for examples.

New York New York

Shanghai Shanghai

Moscow Moscow

London London

Tokio Tokio

Sydney Sydney

Vancouver Vancouver

NederBrussels NederBrussels

Chicago Chicago

Taiwan Taiwan

Mumbai Mumbai

Beijing Beijing

Cape Town Cape Town

Mexico City Mexico City

Los Angeles Los Angeles

Las Vegas Las Vegas

Berlin Berlin

Istanbul Istanbul

Dubai Dubai

São Paulo São Paulo

Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro

Cairo Cairo

Bangkok Bangkok

Gran Canaria Gran Canaria

Hawai Hawai

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