A magical photo of Greece’s capital at nighttime was crowned NASA’s “Photo of the Day” on Sunday, December 10th. The picture was snapped by a member of the Expedition 67 crew aboard the International Space Station in September of last year.
The photo was accompanied by a description of what is depicted:
“In nighttime photos taken from above, sharp transitions from lit to unlit areas often occur where urban development meets a waterbody or rough, undeveloped terrain. In this photo, illumination cuts off sharply at the southern edge of Athens, where the city meets the Saronic Gulf. The city’s northwestern reaches also display a sharp drop in illumination due to the Párnitha mountains. Likewise, the lack of light between the city and Athens International Airport is due to the rugged terrain of the Hymettus mountains. The range is blanketed with forests that host archaeological sites and recreational areas.
Ancient and modern elements in Athens are also contrasted at night. Yellow and orange-hued lights indicate older, high-pressure sodium lighting. Bright white-toned lighting indicates areas illuminated with more recent LED (light-emitting diode) technology. Small dark splotches in the central city area surround some of the major ancient landmarks from the fifth century BCE, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.”