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From NASA, the World Cup's 12 Cities Lit Up at Night

The space agency gives a highly detailed look at the tournament's vast geography.
relates to From NASA, the World Cup's 12 Cities Lit Up at Night
Marit Jentoft-Nilsen/Robert Simmon/NASA

Proving its devotion to monitoring spheres that zoom through space, NASA has jumped into the football fray with images of the 12 Brazilian cities hosting World Cup games, lit up at night like blazing stadium lights.

The shots from the Suomi NPP satellite—which has a special tool to pluck the faintest of glimmers from the nocturnal landscape, such as the vessels spotted in the black ocean—show the broad geography of this year's FIFA tournament. Above is a zoom on the crowded metropolises of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the latter being the site of the final match on July 13. The former was the host of Thursday's kick-off game between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians. (Croatia lost to the historical Brazilian juggernaut, after being dinged by a suspect penalty.)