Cities at Night

Since 2003, the astronauts have been taking photos from the International Space Station. Many of these images have been published on the websites of participating agencies or the Twitter accounts of the astronauts. However, most of the images taken by astronauts have not been published remaining on archive without being shown to the world. We have added a section to this gallery dedicated to displaying more than a thousand examples of images of cities at night. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of images on file to discover. You can help.

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Light pollution

Light pollution causes serious problems. Its effects can be measured from the inside of our bedroom to hundreds of kilometers away. The light destroys the essence of the evening darkness. Humans have an ancestral fear of the dark, but too much light produces very negative effects on the ecosystem and our health.

Satellite images help us measure and compare large illuminate areas. With the colors of the images taken by astronauts on the International Space Station, we can measure the efficiency of lighting in many cities on the planet.

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Citizen Science

Citizen science is a tool for scientific and educational research. While you help us classify milies of unpublished images taken by astronauts, you can learn geography of the land at night. Humans are much more efficient than computers at recognizing patterns and therefore any citizen can make a significant contribution.

We need volunteers to help us sort the pictures and identify the locations of the images to create maps of light pollution. It will help governments and local authorities to make the right decisions to reduce light pollution.

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Do you want to see what the astronauts see from the sky?Come with us and discover the night as never before

You can explore with us the archive of the images taken from the ISS and also contribute to creating a map of the world at night in color.

How can light pollution affect me? See for yourself.

In this picture you can see how the light blinds us in many occasions. Exposure to light at night also affects sleep cycles and is related to some types of cancer.

Is there a solution? Yes!!

Technology currently exists to prevent the emission of light inundesirable places. Intelligent systems are also automatically regulating the light depending on need.

Gallery of cities at night

To use it please cite: A. Sánchez de Miguel et al. 2014a

Note: Only images with CoordFLAG = 5 are reliable.

Original at

Help us to georreference cities

Click on any location you know and get access to our georreference application. Select some points on the ISS picture and the same points on the map. This information allow us to identify correctly all the features on the city. The original application at

To use it please cite: -Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel, José Gómez Castaño, Jaime Zamorano, Christopher CM Kyba, Sergio Pascual,M Ángeles, L Cayuela, Guillermo Martín Martinez and Peter Challupner, Atlas of astronaut photos, of Earth at night, News and Reviews in Astronomy & Geophysics, Vol. 55 no4. August 2014 (in press).