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NASA shares stunning photos of the Pakistan-India border.

NASA posted a photo of the border between India and Pakistan as seen from outer space on Facebook on Sunday.

The photo was taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station and shows the familiar outline of the north-western segment of India picked out in glowing lights. The astronaut who took the photo was looking north across Pakistan's IndusRiver valley.

The thread of orange that separates the two countries is lit by security lights that glow orange. The brightest spot visible is Karachi which faces the Arabian Sea. The IndusValley is also dotted with lights. This is one of the few international boundaries visible after dark. The Facebook post has been liked almost 50,000 times and has nearly 9,000 shares.

"More than two millennia ago, Alexander the Great entered the Indus plains in 327 BCE from the northwest. He then spent many months leading his army and navy down the length of the Indus valley shown in this view. From near Karachi, he then began the desert march back to Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). By contrast, it takes the space station just three minutes to travel this distance," according to Nasa.

The photo was taken on September 23 with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 28 millimetre lens. A similar picture was shared by NASA in 2011, which shows the border zone as seen southeast from the Himalayas. Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan.

Of the hundreds of clusters, the largest are the capital cities of Islamabad, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India. (For scale, these metropolitan areas are approximately 700 kilometers or 435 miles apart.) The lines of major highways connecting the cities also stand out. More subtle, but still visible at night, are the general outlines of the towering and partly cloud-covered Himalayas to the north (image left).

A striking feature is the line of lights, with a distinctly orange hue, snaking across the center of the image. It appears to be more continuous and brighter than most highways in the view. This is the fenced and floodlit border zone between Pakistan and India. The fence is designed to discourage smuggling and arms trafficking. A similar fenced zone separates India's eastern border from Bangladesh (not visible).

This image was taken with a 16 mm lens, which provides the wide field of view, as the International Space Station (ISS) was tracking towards the southeast across India. The ISS crew took the image as part of a continuous series of frames, each with a one-second exposure time to maximize light collection. Unfortunately, this also causes blurring of some ground features.

The distinct, bright zone above the horizon (visible at image top) is airglow, a phenomenon caused by excitation of atoms and molecules high in the atmosphere (above 80 kilometers, or 50 miles altitude) by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Part of the ISS Permanent Multipurpose Module and a solar panel array are visible at image right.

Nasa shared a photo of the international border between India and Pakistan as seen from outer space on their Facebook page on Sunday. An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this nighttime panorama while looking north across Pakistan's IndusRiver valley. The photo was taken on September 23 with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 28 millimetre lens.

The photograph shows one of the few places on Earth where an international boundary can be seen at night. The winding border between Pakistan and India is lit by security lights that have a distinct orange tone. Another photo, which was shared by Nasa in 2011, shows the border zone looking southeast from the Himalaya.
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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Oct 6, 2015
Words:620
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