The night image, taken recently from the International Space Station (ISS), shows with clarity and surprising detail the human geography of cities of different sizes, such as Kochi and Coimbatore, and the highways that connect cities. The almost unpopulated hilly escarpment, known as the southern Ghats, is a dark zone parallel to the coast. A patch of clouds are illuminated by a nearly-full moon.
The daylight panorama was taken by the crew of the Gemini 11 spacecraft and shows coastlines and land surface color, but no details of human geography. This classic view was taken on an early space flight at a similar altitude to that of the ISS. Patterns of bright white cloud cover much of the land surfaces of India and Sri Lanka.