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The Green Lights of Guatemala seen from Space

  1. May 5, 2012 #1
    If any group of people can help me with this interesting one it's you folks. So I hope most of you have seen that wonderful video of the ISS flyover of the Earth. In case you haven't for reference...

    Other than being blown away like everyone else something particular caught my eye, and after searching the web I found a list of the countries and discovered the interesting area was the country of Guatemala. If you watch closely around 1:26 when they fly over Guatemala the lights of the entire country appear green. You can almost trace the countries borders by following the green tinted area. This is most noticeable on the border with the very southern tip of Mexico where you can clearly see the bright orange city of Tapachula and the sliver of Mexico that extends the farthest south with this city included is clearly bright orange like the rest of the world from the video. To make it a little more intriguing it appears that the capital city of Guatemala is the ONLY part of the country that has bright orange lights like the rest of the world.

    Any insights would be helpful. Obviously, my first assumption was Guatemala uses a different kind of city light than...uhh, the rest of the world? Maybe Mercury or something, but no searches online appeared to confirm anything like that, and why the capital city wasn't converted when the rest of the country was makes it even a little stranger. Thanks a lot for any help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2012 #2


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    cant answer the reason for the green lighting just in that country strange huh

    but it was cool seeing the red and green aurora and all the lightning from thunderstorms
    would be nice to watch at a slower speed so we were able to take in where the ISS was flying over at times and more general detail.

    thanks for the link
  4. May 5, 2012 #3
    Hey sir, that was the first thing I thought too. Here's the list I found...

    The list:
    1. United States
    2. Eastern United States
    3. Madagascar to southwest of Australia
    4. South of Australia
    5. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America
    6. Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
    7. Halfway around the World
    8. Central Africa and the Middle East
    9. Sahara Desert and the Middle East
    10. Canada and Central United States
    11. Southern California to Hudson Bay
    12. Islands in the Philippine Sea
    13. Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
    14. Middle East
    15. Mediterranean Sea
    16. United States
    17. Indian Ocean
    18. Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia
  5. May 5, 2012 #4
    First of all: many thanks for this great video!

    In regard to the question I can only speculate: Is it possible that Guatemala has a regulation or program to support a special kind of illumination, e.g. LED lighting?

    Edit: How about his: http://lightthevillage.com/project.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. May 5, 2012 #5
    I assume it's something like that. Thanks for your link, because I wasn't able to find ANYTHING, but by the website's own admission they have only been able to help a handful of villages so far and from the video you can see that even large cities like Quetzaltenango are bright green. The mystery continues ; )
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. May 6, 2012 #6
    Of course this special project is not sufficient but maybe the idea to use LEDs is enforced by a national law. This would not be unique. According to an EU Directive all filament lamps will be stepwise removed from the European market. By this September all filament lamps with 25 W ore more will be prohibited by law. The replacement by fluorescent lamps or LEDs will lead to a conversion of the European light emission that might be observed from space. Maybe there is a similar regulation in Guatemala. Unfortunately I am not familiar with their national law.
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