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The lights of Blighty…

As much as I love pictures of, and from, Mars, I’m a sucker for a gorgeous image of Earth too, especially images showing my part of the planet from orbit, and *especially* from the International Space Station (ISS). So when I saw this one recently, showing not just an oblique view of the UK, but some ghostly beams and rays of the aurora borealis too, I was a very happy camper…

But looking at that image, something occurred to me – it shows the extent of light pollution from, and over, the UK now, doesn’t it? Every orange dot is a town; every flash of amber a city. All that power being wasted, all that energy just shining up into the sky, utterly, utterly useless…

However, the angle the photo was taken from means the UK is very distorted, and it’s next to impossible to ID anywhere except the largest population centres… I thought it might be fun to try and manipulate the image so it looked more like an overhead view, which would then allow us to get a clearer picture of the extent of light pollution here.

It turned out to be a lot harder work than I imagined – but well worth it in the end… :-)

From that original stretched-toffee image I managed to get this…

…and then, eventually, with some enhancement and touching-up, this

Now I know that’s a bit fuzzy, and still a bit distorted, and nowhere near as accurate or realistic as a truly overhead view would be, but I think it’s not a bad effort! And I think it really does show just how much light pollution we suffer from in our part of the world.

Of course, I couldn’t just leave it there. I was curious about which towns and cities in my area were visible on the image. And after a little more work I cobbled this together…

I’d be lying if I said I was *totally* sure about **all** those labels being in the right places, but it’s just a bit of fun. And if any readers out there are able to set me straight on any mistakes I’ve made, then please, fire away! :-)

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One Response

  1. Well – you could have put a marker on for Morecambe and Heysham for a start…. :-)

    (right a bit, down a bit from Barrow).

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