A nighttime view of Liege, Belgium is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 34 crew member on the International Space Station. To paraphrase the old expression, "all roads lead to Liege" -- or at least one could get that impression from this nighttime photograph. The brightly lit core of the Liege urban area appears to lie at the center of a network of roadways--traceable by continuous orange lighting--extending outwards into the rural, and relatively dark, Belgium countryside.
For a sense of scale the distance from left to right is approximately 70 kilometers. The region at upper left to the southeast of Verviers includes agricultural fields and forest; hence it appears almost uniformly dark at night. The image was taken using the European Space Agency's Nodding mechanism, also known as the NightPod. NightPod is an electro-mechanical mount system designed to compensate digital cameras for the motion of the space station relative to Earth. The primary mission goal was to take high-resolution, long exposure digital imagery of Earth from the station's Cupola, particularly cities at night.
While the official NightPod mission has been completed, the mechanism remains onboard for crew members to use. Liege is the third most populous metropolitan region in Belgium (after Brussels and Antwerp); it includes 52 municipalities, including the nearby city of Seraing. ISS034-E-005935 (8 Dec. 2012) --- high res (1.4 M) low res (118 K)