NASA's view of Earth at night is absolutely beautiful

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NASA has released stunning new high-resolution imagery of the Earth at night.

Click for the high-resolution image.
(Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC)

Consisting of multiple images taken on cloud-free nights and then composited together, the images show a resplendent Earth glowing in its night-time state. Illumination is provided by natural and man-made light across the globe.

Other satellites are best equipped to take images of Earth during daylight hours, so a new sensor was added to the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite to help with these nocturnal images.

The US at night. Click the image for the high-resolution version.
(Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC)

From the NASA website:

The new sensor, the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth's atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea. Satellites in the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program have been making observations with low-light sensors for 40 years. But the VIIRS day-night band can better detect and resolve Earth's night lights.

The satellite took 312 orbits in order to capture all the detail it needed for mapping land surfaces and islands. The original Blue Marble image, which was captured in 1972, was inspiration for this new series, being dubbed the Black Marble.

Below is an animation of Black Marble images, and you can see the full spectacular set over at NASA's Flickr page.

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LiuN posted a comment   

there are in the sea, the night is this beautiful planet and we care so little of it!


EdI1 posted a comment   

If you look into this at the NASA website, you will find that this is NOT a real image. It is CGI generated form satellite data. The lights across WA are not real. Small wild fires are exaggerated in size due to the over-sensitive infra-red detectors on the satellites, which are designed to seek individual ships in the South China Sea so that they can be accurately targeted by missiles from US military drones launched from aircraft carriers and permanent flying mother-ships prosecuting the containment of China's territorial expansion.


EdI1 posted a comment   

so now NASA has found a way to burn sand and gravel. A new energy source perhaps?


JoshuaO1 posted a comment   

it's just maybe lightning strikes in Australia or in other parts of the world


MattT4 posted a comment   

FAKE! The Australian Desert DOES NOT have much civilization at all - its just sand. Refer to google maps images for clarification:,124.261208


MattT4 posted a reply   

PS NASA - its not bush fires either! Sand doesn't burn!

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