Satellite image of North and South Korea at night.

The world’s most secretive country is also one of its darkest. This satellite image shows night in North Korea. The capital Pyongyang, near the western coast, is one of the only places in the country with electricity. At the top of the picture, the illuminations show cities in China. At the bottom right, Kyushu and the southern islands of Japan.

The bright line in the middle of the peninsula marks the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, and the southern capital, Seoul, is the blaze of white just across the border. Night-time luminosity is thought to correlate with economic prosperity, by which measure North Korea is practically penniless.

Saddled with UN sanctions as a result of the nuclear weapons programm of their former leader Kim Jong-Il, North Koreans have to live with regular power shortages and blackouts, as well as chronic food shortages. After this year’s Arab Spring, South Koreans sent balloons north across the border, informing their neighbors of the uprisings.

This Google Map of North Korea also illustrates how isolated the country is.

Via New Scientist