We’ve seen all manner of wondrous sights looking to the stars (just check out WIRED’s Space Photo of the Day for proof), but it’s pretty cool when our space-faring scientists turn the cameras back toward Earth — and hey, there’s us!
A member of the Expedition 38 crew at the International Space Station shot this night photo of Salt Lake Valley. You can see a large version of it here. For all you camera enthusiasts out there, the astronaut used a Nikon D3S, with a 600 millimeter lens.
Though the unnamed astronaut took the photo Dec. 12, NASA just posted the image Monday to its Earth Observatory website.
“Both the color of the city lights and their density provide clues to the character of the urban fabric,” NASA wrote in its post. “Yellow-gold lights generally indicate major roadways, such as Interstate Highway 15, which passes through the center of the metropolitan area. Bright white clusters are associated with city centers, and commercial and industrial areas. Residential and suburban areas are recognizable as diffuse and relatively dim lighting.”
Several large parks and golf courses account for some of the dark spots in the sea of lights.
NASA also has at least a few more satellite images of Salt Lake City through the years, including one of the valley blanketed in snow and another of the tornado that passed through in 1999.
— Michael McFall