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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 16:29 GMT
London seen from space
Click below to see the Nasa picture in full

Astronauts have captured the glittering lights of London by night, in a photograph taken from the International Space Station.

The night-time photo, taken in early February, shows the dense, bright lights of the centre, becoming fewer and fewer as the population thins out towards the edge of the city.

The crew of the International Space Station took advantage of clear winter skies to snap the image 233 miles (376 km) above Earth.

It was beamed back to Nasa's Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The picture shows London glowing bright orange, surrounded by a thin band of light from the M25 motorway which encircles the capital.

Nasa said the photo offered "a unique insight into the city's urban density and infrastructure".

The city's two major airports, Heathrow in the west and Gatwick to the south, are clearly visible.

Commuter towns such as Reading, Maidstone and Gillingham can be seen as bright spots in the countryside surrounding London.

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