Italy's Boot-like Shape Is Unmistakable When Seen From Space

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station recently captured this glorious panoramic night-time shot of Italy.

Yup, that's Italy all right. A higher resolution image of the top photo can be found here. Here's an annotated image to help you get your bearings on this unconventional easterly perspective:


NASA's Earth Observatory blog explains:

Some of the brightest clusters of lights are Rome and nearby Naples, with island cities of Cagliari on Sardinia and Catania on Sicily—now well-known as the hometown of European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.The small, dark, circular patch dangerously close to Catania marks the unpopulated slopes of the active volcano Etna. Hazy lights, as over the Po valley and Rome, probably indicate thin clouds above. The island of Malta appears at the lower right.

Back in 2011, NASA captured this night-time shot of Italy:


Image credit: NASA/JSC/ISS.

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