These images are a composite constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. The images show the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before. These images also show how hard it is becoming to view the night sky in many parts of the world. The amount of unnecessary artificial light produced on a daily basis is staggering.
Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can observe the planet fully illuminated by the sun. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite launched last year, scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during the night.
The new sensor 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 U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program have been making observations with low-light sensors for 40 years. But the new satellite’s day-night band can better detect and resolve Earth’s night lights.
The Nile river at night.
The all Earth composite image.
Africa at night.
The Korean peninsula at night. As you can see, North Korea probably has the best night sky viewing in the world due to the fact that according to the CIA Book of Facts, they are 71st in electrical production and 79th in electrical consumption.
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– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +