There is an ambiguous luster in the satellite images of Earth at night. While on a ground level our cities appear as purely cultural artifacts, a traveler from outer space might just as well marvel at them as beautifully glowing organic fungi-like structures that sprouted on our planet. Less than a millennium ago, the Earth at night was all dark. Today it is all glowing and blossoming.
The website Cities at Night collects images that astronauts have taken of Earth at night. It organizes them on a map, and draws them from a much larger resource: the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, a NASA-organized database of all photos taken by astronauts in space. The different typologies of cities are striking. Warp to the website or scroll down for examples.