Earth  ID: 11146

The Night Electric

The night side of our planet twinkles with light, tracing a map of human settlement across Earth. Scientists have studied Earth's night lights in the past, using military satellites and astronaut photos; but in 2012, the view became significantly clearer. Data from the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite was used to make a new composite view of Earth at night that allows scientists to quantify the intensity and sources of night light for the first time. A special low-light sensor on Suomi-NPP can distinguish night lights with six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels than before, capturing even the dim light of an isolated highway lamp or a fishing boat at sea. Watch the videos to take a tour of Earth, sparkling in the dark of night.

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NASA Earth Observatory

Story Credits

Lead Visualizer/Animator:
Robert Simmon (Sigma Space Corporation)

Jesse Allen (Sigma Space Corporation)
Trent L. Schindler (USRA)

Video Editor:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)

Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)
Mike Carlowicz (Sigma Space Corporation)

Lead Scientist:
Christopher Elvidge (NOAA/NGDC)

Lead Writer:
Mike Carlowicz (Sigma Space Corporation)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA Earth Observatory and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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