The Sky at Night

In a recent essay about 'urban terroir' I talked about the idea of the grain of the city and used some of the beautiful ISS images of London, New York and Tokyo to describe the difficulty of reading character from such a removed perspective.

A few days before submitting the essay, an image of Berlin taken in 2012 by the European Space Agency surfaced and rudely interrupted my confident assurances that you needed to be on the ground and in the data to start making meaningful comment on the nature of the city.

This picture was taken by ESA astronaut André Kuipers from the International Space Station (ISS) and was first shown at the ISS Symposium 2012 in Berlin.

The former division between East and West Berlin can be seen. The yellow lights correspond to East Berlin and the greener tones show West Berlin. Over 20 years since the Berlin Wall was dismantled the effects of separating the city can still be seen from space.

The picture was taken using a new camera aid called NightPod. Nightpod tracks the Earth automatically as it moves below the Space Station resulting in images that are sharper and have more detail.

So, yeah, so much for not being able to read anything from a removed perspective...