Do you recognize this intriguing globular cluster of stars? It's actually the constellation of city lights surrounding London, England, planet Earth, as recorded with a digital camera from the International Space Station. Taken in February 2003, north is toward the top and slightly left in this nighttime view. The encircling "London Orbital" highway by-pass, the M25 (... but not Messier 25), is easiest to pick out south of the city. Even farther south are the lights of Gatwick airport and just inside the western (left hand) stretch of the Orbital is Heathrow (I'm a few miles south west of Heathrow). The darkened Thames river estuary fans out to the city's east. In particular, two small "dark nebulae" - Hyde Park and Regents Park - stand out slightly west of the densely packed lights at the city's core.
I don't know you but I stumbled upon your journal a little while ago. I just wanted to say hi and tell you that I love your pictures and stories. I will be doing a little traveling in Europe this summer so I love reading your stories.
The majority of my time well be spent in Paris since I will be taking an intensive French language program, but I do plan to visit Spain and perhaps Germany in June and/or August if I get the chance. I am still in the planning stages as far as to where I want to go. Any suggestions besides the typical Parisian sites. It would be nice to explore some of the smaller cities of France.
Apologies for the delay in my response. I'm envious of your staying in Paris, I hope to do the same in the coming years. I'm not sure about cities near Paris, but if you're near northwestern France I would recommend Clisson, La Rochelle, Mont-Saint-Michel, St. Malo, and Fontenay-le-Comte. There are plenty of interesting places and countryside in between these cities, like castles, châteaus, vineyards, Roman ruins, etc.