Some things to notice about the Sunset From Space:
This photograph was taken by the crew on board the Columbia
during its last mission. This photograph was taken via satellite,
on a cloudless day. Here are some observations:
1. The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting.
2. The right half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities
3. The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert.
4. Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and
Barcelona, and that's it's still daylight in
London, Lisbon, and Madrid.
5. The sun is still shining on the Straight of Gibraltar.
6. The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness.
7. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores
Islands; below them to the right are the
Madeira Islands; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further south, close to the
point of Africa, are the Cape Verde Islands.
8. Note that the Sahara is huge and can be seen clearly both
during daytime and nighttime.
9. To the left, on top, is Greenland, totally frozen.
-------------------- Fantastic photograph? Yes, but,
according to snopes.com we discovered...
The contradictory explanations of this photograph's origins given in the accompanying text are the first clue that something's amiss here -- this image can't have been both "taken by the crew on board the Columbia" and "taken via satellite."
Actually, the notation about this image's having been "taken by the crew on board the Columbia during its last mission" was added only after the fatal break-up of the Space Shuttle Columbia upon its re-entry on 1 February 2003. Well before then, this picture had been circulating as a photograph "taken via satellite, on a cloudless day."
Although this image does accurately depict the landforms described and the positioning of lighted cities to the right of the day-night terminator line, it doesn't represent an actual Earth view one might see from space. This photograph is a digital composite formed by merging multiple images from different sources (primarily