COPYRIGHT W.T. SULLIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY COPYRIGHT W.T. SULLIVAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Earth at night. Satellite image of the artificial light on Earth at night. The most urbanized areas are North America (upper left), Europe (upper centre) and Japan (upper right). The darkest areas include parts of Africa (centre), South America (lower left), Asia (upper right) and the oceans (blue). The orange band across Africa shows the light from agricultural fires. The white area at upper left is the aurora borealis, (northern lights) in the atmosphere above the Arctic Circle. These occur naturally as a result of the ionisation of molecules in the atmosphere, at low temperatures, by solar and cosmic radiation.
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