Ten years: Warsaw at night

On November 19, 2012, Poland became the 20th member of the European Space Agency (ESA). The last 10 years have been a time of dynamic development of the Polish space sector. These two pictures show capital city Warsaw as seen by ESA astronauts from the International Space Station, 10 years apart.

The photo on the left was taken by André Kuipers in 2012 during his PromISSe mission, and the image on the right by Samantha Cristoforetti during her Minerva mission in September 2022. Samantha commented on her social media accounts: “Standing on the River Vistula, this Polish metropolis is easy to spot from space.”

Use the sliders to compare the two images that have been calibrated and rotated to compare. At night streetlights make cities easier to spot from space.

With Poland joining ESA, the Polish flag was added to the ESA patch that astronauts often take with them to the International Space Station. In the ten years between these two pictures, over 13 missions have flown with ESA astronauts to space, each contributing to science and research for the benefit of humankind.

The images themselves are part of it, as colour pictures taken from the International Space Station are the best source for scientists to map artificial light at night.

ESA and the Polish Space Agency invite you to follow a live stream of an ESA Day in cooperation with Poland. An anniversary conference on 27 and 28 October 2022 will celebrate the achievements of the country as an ESA Member State throughout the last decade, while looking towards the future.

NASA/ESA–A. Kuipers/S. Cristoforetti/A. Sánchez de Miguel