Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space

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Lights of Mankind is the story of how we’ve populated our planet as told through inspiring, panoramic photographs of Earth at night, images made possible by the latest light-sensitive cameras and the newly installed Cupola observation module on the International Space Station. These photos, taken by astronauts from the largest window ever used in space, have already awed hundreds of thousands of people.

The images, of course, beg explanation. Why did human beings settle here ...

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Overview


Lights of Mankind is the story of how we’ve populated our planet as told through inspiring, panoramic photographs of Earth at night, images made possible by the latest light-sensitive cameras and the newly installed Cupola observation module on the International Space Station. These photos, taken by astronauts from the largest window ever used in space, have already awed hundreds of thousands of people.

The images, of course, beg explanation. Why did human beings settle here and not there? How is this glittering planet powered? The photographs tell a story of agriculture, geography, wars, disease, food supply, water supply, politics, and power supply. The uncertain sprawl of Southern California. The Nile River as it snakes toward the Mediterranean. The gridlike pattern of lights that writes the history of the American Midwest. This is the “unintended artwork of human habitation,” as author Keeney writes, artwork we now see first-hand, the first ever photographic portrait of Earth at night.

A trip into space is one of the rarest of human experiences, and this book includes first-person perspectives by the astronauts themselves—Don Pettit, Douglas Wheelock, Mario Runco Jr., Clayton “Clay” Anderson, and Sandra Magnus. What was it like? Their disarmingly honest answers help give us a feel of the human experience in space.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Earthbound folks rarely get the chance to see how the planet's city lights glow from space. Several years ago, however, author L. Douglas Keeney noticed pictures being tweeted by astronauts on the International Space Station. The clear images of Earth's city lights were made possible by new camera technology that was able to shoot high-resolution photos even as the station moved at a rapid 17,500 miles an hour some 240 miles above Earth's surface. Keeney then got to work, pouring through more than 300,000 unmarked NASA photo, choosing 400 of the best images for his book the Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space.” —BusinessInsider.com  

“A new book collects images that offer a different look at the Earth from space, when sunlight is replaced by the lights of human civilization. Lights of Mankind provides a sampling of some of the best such nighttime imagery from six continents. Many cities are visible in sharp detail, revealing their network of roads and patterns of development, from grids to hubs-and spokes to more irregular patterns, that are much harder to see during the day. Keeney matches the images with brief captions describing the images and including in many cases capsule histories of those cities. Included in the book are several essays from astronauts who have flown on the ISS, providing their views of what it was like to view, and photograph, the Earth at night.” —Space Review

“Imagining what Earth must look like from orbit leaves me almost breathless. And I had that feeling after looking through the amazing images in Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space.” —Kim D. Kolarik, The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

The books’s Earth-at-night photography as reviewed by the media:

“Stunning images.” —New York Daily News

"Earthlings are seeing their planet in a whole new light, thanks to NASA and its astronauts aboard the Internet-wired space station. They're beaming down dazzling images and guess-this-mystery-location photos via Twitter and have even launched a game. Landlubbers the world over are eating it up. From schoolchildren to grown-up business entrepreneurs and artists, the public is captivated and can't seem to get enough."  —Huffington Post

“Photos and thoughts beamed down from the International Space Station via Twitter are raising goose bumps across the planet.” —Daily Telegram

"For decades people have found themselves transixed by photos of Earth from space, enjoying a switch in perspective that stimulates the mind and awakens a sense of mystery."  —The Telegram

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762777556
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/13/2011
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

L. Douglas Keeney is the author or editor of many historical books, including 15 Minutes: Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation. He was the cofounder of the Military Channel, and has appeared on the Discovery Channel, CBS, and the Learning Channel. A pilot, a scuba diver, and an avid traveler, he has visited many of the cities in this book. 

Video:

Time-Lapse Footage of the Earth at Night from the International Space Station 

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    One of a kind - A must experience

    Truly as close to an experience of a lifetime short of being an astronaut. Stunning - there are not words to describe the pictures.

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