Earth In The Dark | Weather
NASA has released some new pictures from the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, showing a global view of Earth’s city lights as a composite. A total of 24 days were of data was acquired and compiled, with 312 orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. It was then mapped over the already existing Blue Marble images to provide a realistic view of the planet.
Many of the images were made possible by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). It is able to show images that are taken in the dark by using a specific range of wavelengths and using filtering techniques to observe dim light such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight.
Back on August 29, 2012, the satellite was able to capture a nighttime view of Hurricane Isaac. You can see the cities along the Gulf Coast all lit up. This shot used the same “day-night band,” to show the clouds from Isaac which appear thanks to moonlight.
The Suomi also took images of Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land and Princess Ragnhild areas showing nighttime views of the Aurora Australis, or “southern lights”. It is in black and white, instead of the usual bright colorful photos we are used to seeing for the northern and southern lights.
The final image was taken on August 29, 2012 using the VIIRS to capture a nighttime view of wildfires burning in Idaho and Montana.