Bright Lights, Big City


I’m one of the billions of people on the earth that live on the edge.  Sometimes I think I’m on the edge of sanity, but what I mean here is that I live on the edge of the land.  Actually, I live pretty much on the edge of a continent.

I think I’ve always assumed that there wasn’t much in the middle, in the heart of the land.  Mainly because when I travelled within Australia, it is a remote and arid land (mostly) and the distances over the beautiful but inhospitable terrain are vast.  It got me thinking about the rest of the world.  We know that India and China have massive populations, but what about other areas?  Where do we all live on this blue planet?

The picture below is from NASA and shows the location of permanent lights on earth.  This image was created with ongoing data from the Satellite Program which studies the changes in urbanisation over time.  The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanised, but not necessarily the most populated.  Even after more than 100 years after the invention of the electric light, some regions remain thinly populated and unlit.  Antarctica is entirely dark.  Lights are beginning to appear in the jungles of Africa and South America.  Interesting huh?  See what you can see.

Earth Lights: Craig Mayhew & Robert Simmon, NASA. GSFC.

Earth Lights: Craig Mayhew (www.visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1438)

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