Night and day images of southern India
Two images taken by astronauts, one in daylight and one at night, show the peninsula of southern India. Astronauts pass from the day side of the planet to the night side sixteen times every 24 hours and therefore quickly adapt to the very different visual conditions of night and day. The night image, taken recently from the International Space Station (ISS), shows with clarity and surprising detail the human geography of cities of different sizes, such as Kochi and Coimbatore, and the highways that connect cities. The almost unpopulated hilly escarpment zone, known as the southern Ghats, is a dark zone parallel to the coast. A patch of cloud is illuminated by a near-full moon.

The daylight panorama taken by crews flying aboard the Gemini-11 spacecraft shows coastlines and land surface color, but no details of human geography. This classic view was taken on an early space flight, almost 50 years ago, at a similar altitude to that of the ISS. Patterns of bright white cloud cover much of the land surfaces of India and Sri Lanka (image right).

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This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
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