Black Marble: Spectacular Images From NASA, NOAA of the Earth at Night

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-12-07 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Scientists this week unveiled an unprecedented look at our planet at night. A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before. NASA also released a slew of images from cities and communities around the world, using camera technology that produces an image by repeatedly scanning a scene and resolving it as millions of individual pixels. The instrument can capture images on nights with or without moonlight, producing crisp views of Earth's atmosphere, land and ocean surfaces. "It's like having three simultaneous low-light cameras operating at once and we pick the best of various cameras, depending on where we're looking in the scene," Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA's Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, said in a statement.

 
 
 

City Lights

This image of the United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October.

City Lights
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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