The crew of the International Space Station recorded video of the earth on January 30, over Asia at night. As they flew over the Korean Penninsula, you can see the stark differences between countries. Here, South Korea look like a big island, because North Korea has so few lights.
The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, Pyongyang, appears like a small island, despite a population of 3.26 million (as of 2008). The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea.
Coastlines are often very apparent in night imagery, as shown by South Korea’s eastern shoreline. But the coast of North Korea is difficult to detect. These differences are illustrated in per capita power consumption in the two countries, with South Korea at 10,162 kilowatt hours and North Korea at 739 kilowatt hours.
(Image credit: NASA)