Kjell E’s Cool Images – nr 55

Our Earth from space, AT NIGHT….
Using data from the Suomi NPP satellite, scientists have assembled this animated composite. The light detection instrumentation is ten to hundreds of times better than previous capabilities….

When the video starts, Set the quality to high resolution, and maximize the size of the video to fill your screen:

–Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can observe our planet fully illuminated by the sun. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite (launched last year), scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours.

–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 U.S. 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 new, higher resolution composite image of Earth at night was released at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on December 4, 2012.

–This new global view and animation of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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