Nothing makes me feel more connected to the rest of the human race than seeing the Earth from space at night.
National borders vanish, and rivers of light unite our towns and cities into a single glowing tapestry.
Just look at this incredible view of Europe, sparkling with artificial light:
Er, wait a minute. If you’ve seen enough images of Earth from space at night, or you care to look closely enough, this image looks… funny. And yet it has been shared all over the internet as a legitimate NASA photograph.
Compare it to this photograph of the Iberian Peninsula, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station in July 2014: Spain Iberian Peninsula Europe from space at night NASA As it turns out, the first — and arguably more breathtaking — image is actually a computer rendering created by Russian graphic artist Anton Balazh.
#1 The Middle East and Northeast Africa
These super detailed images are computer renderings created by Anton Balazh, a graphic artist who lives in St. Petersburg, Russia.
#2 Great Lakes, USA – Canada, North-East
To render a single image takes tens of hours on a multi-core computer with 32 GB of Ram. That’s alot of work and dedication for your art!
#3 Iberia Peninsula
This is a great shot of the Iberia Penisula, the UK and the rest of Europe, it may be hard to believe that this is not actually a shot of the Earth from Space but a computer rendering! Sadly though it highlights just how much light pollution we create.
Each image has about 20-30 million polygons to form realistic 3D terrain. That’s alot of polygons.