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The Beginnings of a Sunrise

In the distance, small points of light can be seen against the darkness of space. The sun's rays peek over Earth, creating a blue haze tinged with orange. On Earth, the city lights of Chicago, Illinois, (far left) and the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area (far right) shine.
NASA / Jasmin Moghbeli

City lights stretch across the United States like a string of holiday lights in this image taken from the International Space Station on Nov. 10, 2023. At far left, the lights of Chicago, Illinois, are outlined by Lake Michigan. At far right, the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area shines through the clouds while the sun’s first rays start to light up Earth’s atmosphere (at top).

Since the space station became operational in November 2000, crew members have produced hundreds of thousands of images of the land, oceans, and atmosphere of Earth. Their photographs of Earth record how the planet changes over time due to human activity and natural events. This allows scientists to monitor disasters and direct response on the ground and study phenomena, from the movement of glaciers to urban wildlife.

Explore more images of cities at night taken by astronauts on the space station.

Image Credit: NASA/Jasmin Moghbeli