Earth  ID: 30082

Rotating Earth at Night

This new space-based view of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and thirteen days in October 2012. It took the satellite 312 orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing MODIS Blue Marble imagery to provide a realistic view of the planet. The view was made possible by the “day-night band” of Suomi NPP’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses “smart” light sensors to observe dim signals such as city lights, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight. This low-light sensor can distinguish night lights tens to hundreds of times better than previous satellites.  

Used Elsewhere In


For More Information


Robert Simmon (Sigma Space Corporation): Lead Animator
Heather Hanson (GST): Writer
Eric Sokolowsky (GST): Project Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense.

Short URL to share this page:

Suomi NPP

Data Used:
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Night
SVS >> Night lights
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Economic Resources
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Environmental Impacts >> Urbanization
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Suomi
SVS >> Presentation

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version