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London from space

Not a new picture, but one I like to show time and again as it never ceases to take my breath away.

Taken by European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers, whilst orbiting the Earth at 17,500 mph on the International Space Station, it shows the UK capital as an almost living organism.

The unmissable M25 motorway provides the skin around the outside with London’s major thoroughfares acting as arteries, transporting vital supplies around to keep the city ticking.

You can’t fail to spot Heathrow Airport on the far left, a place to feed the metropolitan animal with new visitors. From the East, the brightness of the lights intensifies as you snake around the ‘Eastenders’ river bend to reach the gleaming heart of London.

Whilst as an astronomer the lights reduce my view of the stars, it’s sometimes hard to argue with them when they show off my home so spectacularly to the rest of the universe.