Earth at night as seen from space

Photo: Robert Simmon/Christ Elvidge/NASA Earth Observatory

The dark side of the Earth

The cities of Asia and Australia are seen lit up in this composite image assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite between April and October 2012.


Using a Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), the satellite is able to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight. In this case, auroras, fires, and other stray light have been filtered out to emphasize the city lights. The new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.


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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.