Why are different parts of the Earth different colors in pictures of the Earth at night?



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    Even though the Earth’s night time horizon is dark, light provided by the clouds and the city lights reflecting off of the clouds illuminate photos. Astronauts’ nighttime photographs illustrate humanity’s footprints on the Earth. With daylight illumination, an onboard camera can be set to take an image with an exposure time of just 1/500 of a second. With the Earth’s surface in darkness, night images of cities require much longer exposure times. City areas and all their night time lights will move across the camera’s field of view while the shutter is open—a recipe for blurry images. The longer the exposure, the more motion blurring there will be.

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