Surreal Images of Earth from Space

Seeing the Earth from space is one of the most humbling reminders of the smallness and fragility of our planet, and of the insignificance of humanity. In the words of Carl Sagan, “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner.”

The following images are not actual photographs from space, though many people on the internet have mistaken them for real photos from NASA. They were actually created by graphic artist Anton Balazh (Антон Балаж) from St. Petersburg, Russia. The images achieve their beautiful realism by compounding and altering real satellite images from NASA’s Visible Earth catalogs, and using GIS data to depict bathymetry and topography. The height of mountain ranges, which would normally look flat from space, are exaggerated in a style called raised-relief. The images were then altered to make them appear variously at night, day, and twilight. The effect is incredible, showing our planet as a tapestry of glowing city lights without political borders or labels.

 

Raised Relief South Asia
South Asia from Space at Night
Raised Relief South Asia Day
South Asia from Space at Day
Raised Relief Western US and Mexico
Northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States from Space at Night

 

Raised Relief Western US and Mexico Day
Northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Western Mediterranean
Iberia, Southwestern Europe, and Northwestern Africa from Space at Night
Raised Relief Western Mediterranean Day
Iberia, Southwestern Europe, and Northwestern Africa from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Andes
The Andes from Space at Night
Raised Relief Andes Day
The Andes from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief New Guinea
New Guinea and Northern Australia from Space at Night
Raised Relief New Guinea Day
New Guinea and Northern Australia from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Arabia
The Arabian Peninsula from Space at Night
Raised Relief Arabia Day
The Arabian Peninsula from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Alaska
Alaska from Space at Night
Raised Relief Alaska Day
Alaska from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia from Space at Night
Raised Relief Southeast Asia Day
Southeast Asia from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Mediterranean
Southern Europe from Space at Night
Raised Relief Southern Europe Day
Southern Europe from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Japan and Korea
Korea and Japan from Space at Night
Raised Relief Japan Day
Korea and Japan from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Australia
Eastern Australia from Space at Night
Raised Relief Australia day
Eastern Australia from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Eastern Mediterranean
The Nile and Eastern Mediterranean from Space at Night
Raised Relief Eastern Mediterranean Day
The Nile and Eastern Mediterranean from Space at Day

 

Raised Raised Southeast US
The Eastern United States from Space at Night
Raised Relief Southeast US Day
The Eastern United States from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf from Space at Night
Raised Relief Persian Gulf Day
The Persian Gulf from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Mexico
Mexico from Space at Night
Raised Relief Mexico Day
Mexico from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Great Lakes
The Great Lakes from Space at Night
Raised Relief Great Lakes Twilight
The Great Lakes from Space at Sunrise

 

Raised Relief China and Taiwan
Eastern China from Space at Night
Raised Relief China and Taiwan Day
Eastern China from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Southeast Brazil
Southeastern Brazil from Space at Night
Raised Relief Southeastern Brazil
Southeastern Brazil from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Southern Africa
Southern Africa from Space at Night

 

Raised Relief Southern Africa Twilight
Southern Africa from Space at Sunrise

 

Raised Relief Southern Africa Day
Southern Africa from Space at Day

 

Raised Relief Central America
Central America from Space at Night
Raised Relief Northeastern Europe and Russia
Northeastern Europe from Space at Night
Raised Relief Chile and Argentina
Southern South America from Space at Night
Raised Relief Caucasus
The Caucasus and Caspian Sea from Space at Night
Raised Relief New Zealand
New Zealand from Space at Night
Raised Relief Caribbean
The Caribbean from Space at Night
Raised Relief Northern Europe
Northern Europe from Space at Night
Raised Relief Scandanavia
Scandanavia from Space at Night
Raised Relief Maritime Southeast Asia
Maritime Southeast Asia from Space at Night

 

Raised Relief Europe Sunrise
Europe from Space at Sunrise
Raised Relief East Asia Sunrise
East Asia from Space at Sunrise
Raised Relief North America Sunrise
North America from Space at Sunrise
Raised Relief Australia Sunrise
Australia from Space at Sunrise
Raised Relief Eurasia
Eurasia from Space at Night

 

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