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Ticket pics of the week: How we look from out there

January 1, 2011 |  7:08 am

NASA Europe at night from space 11-8-10

The Obama administration has whacked U.S-launched manned space operations after the final shuttle mission early this year. But we still have these magnificent photos taken by U.S. Astronaut Douglas Wheelock late in 2010 from the International Space Station.

Can you recognize the terrain in this midnight photo above?

It's western Europe taken as Wheelock passed over northern Africa. The dark at the bottom is the Mediterranean Sea with the southern coast of France. The cluster of light just above the center is the City of Light -- Paris. And the larger light cluster continuing to the upper left across the darkness of the English Channel is London.

But, wait! There's more. See the strip of green light across the upper left? That's the Northern Lights over the Arctic, the mystical curtains of nighttime light that Sarah Palin can see from her house -- as can every other Arctic resident.

Surely you recognize the photo just below:

NASA Nighttime over North America

No, it's not a map of everywhere Obama held a healthcare town hall.

It's North America all the way down into the Caribbean and central America and all the way up to our geographic attic, where the limited lights reveal that three-out-of-four Canadians are huddled along the U.S. border for warmth.

One more bonus shot for New Year's Day 2011:

NASA nighttime over North Africa

If you guessed Australia, you're incorrect.

It's the eastern Mediterranean with Egypt -- and the vast Sahara Desert -- center-stage. Judging from the ribbon of lights slashing into the sands, do you think maybe the Nile River still plays a major economic and social role in life there?

Speaking of life, Happy New Year to everyone out there on this planet from everyone back here at The Ticket -- meaning just me.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Douglas Wheelock / NASA; NASA.