The International Space Station circles Earth about every 90 minutes, which means those on board get a pretty stellar view of the entire planet and its many features. From an altitude of around 250 miles, dividing lines and manmade features largely disappear, but some remain remarkably well-transmitted.
On September 23, an astronaut aboard the ISS snapped photos of the India-Pakistan border at night. As NASA writes, the photograph “shows one of the few places on Earth where an international boundary can be seen at night.”
The illuminated line looks almost like an enormous lava flow, but its orange color is actually due to security floodlights that keep about 1243 miles of the 2051-mile-long border bright even in the dark of night. Also visible is the bright cluster of Karachi, which faces the dark Arabian Sea.
In a post with a similar photo from 2011, NASA wrote, “This is the fenced and floodlit border zone between India and Pakistan. The fence is designed to discourage smuggling and arms trafficking. A similar fenced zone separates India’s eastern border from Bangladesh (not visible).”
For more images of the region during the day and night, visit NASA’s “Visible Earth.”