This is a very interesting night-time shot from the space shuttle orbiting at more than 200 miles above the earth’s surface.
And to comprehend what 200 miles high actually means, a Boeing 777’s maximum cruising altitude is 35,000 feet which is 6.63 miles above sea level. So the Shuttle flew its missions at an average 276,000 feet higher than that, and probably was the altitude above Egypt and Israel when this photograph was taken.
In the image above you can clearly see the city lights of Cairo and the Nile Delta and then further East, Tel Aviv and Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
But it is some of the smaller pinpoints of light that are also very interesting.
Going from South to North East we can see the Red Sea with Sharm El Sheik at the Southern end of the vast and empty Sinai Peninsula. At the apex of the Gulf of Aqaba are the cities of Eilat on the Western side, and Aqaba on the Eastern side.
We can also see the Dead Sea close to Jerusalem on the left and Amman on the right.
Going further afield are the Countries of Syria and Lebanon and we can just about make out the Island of Cyprus and further behind it, Turkey.
All of this captured in a split second on a camera’s electronic image sensor or, as previously, on a role of Kodak film! Amazing, isn’t it?
Image courtesy NASA