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Earth at Night 2012: The Black Marble by NASA Earth Observatory

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Taken by
NASA Earth Observatory NASA Earth Observatory
Explore score
54
Size
1.46 Gigapixels
Views
25976
Date added
Dec 06, 2012
Date taken
 
Categories
environmental, night
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Description

This new image of the Earth at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite over nine days in April 2012 and thirteen days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth's land surface and islands.

The nighttime view of Earth was made possible by the "day-night band" of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as gas flares, auroras, wildfires, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In this case, auroras, fires, and other stray light have been removed to emphasize the city lights.

Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, NPP flies over any given point on Earth's surface twice each day at roughly 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The spacecraft flies 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface in a polar orbit, circling the planet about 14 times a day. Suomi NPP sends its data once per orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users distributed around the world. The mission is managed by NASA with operational support from NOAA and its Joint Polar Satellite System, which manages the satellite's ground system.

Learn more about the VIIRS day-night band and nighttime imaging of Earth on NASA's Earth Observatory earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/NightLights Will open in a new tab or window/
NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.


Gigapan Comments (1)

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  1. rick

    rick (December 13, 2012, 06:37AM )

    dont get it. The lights shown over the west part of australia are in the middle of a desert. Why so many lights? not many inhabitants here.

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