Earth At Night: Stunning 'Black Marble' Images Of Earth From Space Released By NASA (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

These super-high-resolution images, made possible by a new type of infrared sensor on the satellite, were revealed here at the American Geophysical Union conference Dec. 5.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite has a "day-night band" that can detect natural and man-made light with unprecedented resolution and clarity.

It can resolve everything from the nocturnal glow of the atmosphere to the light of a single boat at sea. It can detect auroras, wildfires, the reflection of moon and star light off clouds and ice and the lights alongside highways.

The sensor has six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels than anything that came before it.

The VIIRS instrument works by scanning in 22 different wavelength bands. For each pixel, it uses a low-, medium- or high-gain mode to accurately depict the light from each source. Low-light signals are amplified and bright lights are kept from being over-saturated.

The data from the Suomi satellite is freely available to the public within hours, providing the first look at the Earth at night for most scientists.

Previously, the U.S. Air Force had a suite of night-time satellites with low-light sensors, but the data wasn't nearly as good, was mostly classified, and was available only to a few scientists. (SOURCE)

This incredible image of the night side of Earth is a composite of data gathered by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012 and mapped over previous imagery of the whole Earth.

The Arctic As polar darkness encroaches, it is harder and harder to monitor sea ice. Now the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite can keep an eye on the Arctic all through the winter. The satellite captured this image on Oct. 30, 2012.

Southern Lights This incredible image of the aurora australis over Antartica’s Queen Maud Land and the Princess Ragnhild Coast was captured by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite on July 15, 2012.

Flat Earth This fantastic view of the whole Earth at night is a composite built from 2.5 terabytes of data from the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired in 312 orbits over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012.

Airglow Airglow is a faint layer of light generated by chemical reactions in the atmosphere involving oxygen, nitrogen, sodium and ozone. Airglow occurs at all hours, and is sometimes called nightglow when witnessed in the dark. In the left part of this image taken by the Suomi satellite in April 2012, nightglow can be seen over Texas, with ripples caused by a huge thunderstorm.

South America This image of South America taken by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite on July 20, 2012 is lit up by Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in the north and Buenos Aires in the south.

 SAN FRANCISCO — The Earth at night looks more beautiful than it ever has before in these incredible new images from NASA's Suomi NPP satellite. (Source)

Responses to "The Nighttime Earth From Space Like You’ve Never Seen It Before"

  1. Lara says:

    this is soooo cool :)

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