Images of the Earth at night outline the network of electricity linking cities and towns—the web of humanity’s impact on the world. But there are a few places that remain resolutely dark. North Korea is one of them. In images taken on the International Space Station, the country of North Korea is barely visible at all, blending almost seamlessly into the inky blackness of the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.
The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea.
Coastlines are often very apparent in night imagery, as shown by South Korea’s eastern shoreline. But the coast of North Korea is difficult to detect. These differences are illustrated in per capita power consumption in the two countries, with South Korea at 10,162 kilowatt hours and North Korea at 739 kilowatt hours.
See an annotated version of the image below in a short video compiled by NASA. If you're up for something more cheerful, NASA’s Crew Earth Observations channel on You Tube also has some incredible video of the aurora borealis and lightning storms.