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Home / World / Photo shows the gap between West and East Berlin from space today

Photo shows the gap between West and East Berlin from space today



Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall Berlin is divided by light.

The contrast is a legacy of the Cold War, when Germany was divided from east to west as tensions between America and the West increased. Russia. Berlin was divided by a wall of brick and wire in the middle for 10,316 days. When the wall fell, this signaled the end of the Cold War.

 Berlin Wall

East German policemen along the Wall along Bernauer Strasse in September 1961.

Edwin Reichert / AP


And although Berlin has been a unified city for 30 years, the division can still be seen glowing on clear nights. East Berlin shines orange, while West Berlin shines bright white.

Astronaut of the European Space Agency Andre Kuipers has captured the image from the International Space Station in this story above.

 The Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers returns to Earth.
Mikhail Metzel / AP


One of the reasons for light distribution, according to AP, is that the lamp shades and fittings used vary from one side of the city to another.

Daniela Augenstine, who worked in Berliner Strasse Furniture Division, told The Guardian that the East uses sodium vapor lamps that are older and produce a yellow light, while the West uses fluorescent lamps that produce a brighter, whiter light. The West preferred non-sodium vapor lamps because they were cheaper, easier to maintain and more environmentally friendly.

According to The Telegraph, another reason for the contrast is that West Berlin is booming compared to East Berlin with shopping and business districts Berlin and the light reflect the higher activity.

 Gaslight in Berlin.

Gaslight in Berlin.
Aslu / ullstein picture / Getty


Christa Mientus-Schirmer, who worked for the Berlin city government, told The Guardian that, after the fall of the wall, the city government made great strides in standardizing the city, but had not received funding they liked to make the two halves of the city the same.

This is not the only photograph showing Berlin's nightlight distribution. The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield also took a photo of the ISS in 2013 when he noticed the difference.

But astronauts may not be able to see the divide for too long – Berlin is replacing its gas-powered lights with electric ones to reduce energy consumption. According to the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, around 30,000 gas lamps were still in operation by January 2019.


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