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The music video on the NASA Johnson YouTube channel The Sound (& Visions) of Silence shows images and video of Earth taken from the ISS by astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, Paolo Nespoli, and Commander Randy Bresnik.

Between 01:02 and 01:10 there is shown a photo of a city(?) area with bright sodium street lighting and dimmer white lights, and in the center is a bright lit white area and what looks like light shining straight up.

Any ideas where in the world this is, and if this is a concert, or a brightly lit public area, or what else has produced all of this light? Are these spotlights, or is this somehow reflected moonlight?


enter image description here

enter image description here


Captured by astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, Paolo Nespoli, and Commander Randy Bresnik, the video features stunning footage of Earth and outer space from the International Space Station in low-earth orbit during the months of August through October in 2017.

As an aside, this is a re-recording of the Simon and Garfunkel classic Sound of Silence by the band Disturbed, and their performance of it on Conan received a Grammy nomination. (if you're particularly fond of the original, a caution that this one is very different)

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Well I confirmed via Google Maps that this is Mecca. As shown in the map and image below the roads align with those lighted in the image. The dark areas in the first image are steep hills to the East. enter image description here

The brightly lit region is the Kaaba and large Masjid al-Haram Mosque, and the bright up light is indeed the Makkah Royal Clock Tower.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ That is really cool. $\endgroup$ – 10 Replies Nov 18 '17 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the graphics and explanation of the dark areas. I'd assumed those were water and thought this was some very interestingly built-up harbor. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 18 '17 at 23:47
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The location is Masjid AL Haram in Makkah Saudi Arabia and The bright light is coming from one of the high beam light installed over Abraj al Bait(Makkah Clock Tower)

From Wikipedia's Abraj Al Bait; Features:

On special occasions such as new year, 16 bands of vertical lights shoot 10 km (6.2 mi) up into the sky.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your confirmation, and Welcome to Space! I added a link to you post, please feel free to add any additional information. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 9 at 8:25

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