NASA satellite reveals dazzling nighttime views of Earth
This new global view of Earth's city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (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. (NASA's Earth Observatory / NOAA / DOD)
The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:17PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2012 8:29AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO -- Twinkling city lights, raging wildfires and colorful auroras are lit up in new dazzling nighttime views of the Earth.
The new images released Wednesday are courtesy of a newly launched NASA-NOAA satellite that's equipped with a sensor to observe the planet at night.
There's the Nile River bathed in city lights. A map of the United States shows the populated East Coast illuminated. Light from fishing boats can be pinpointed.
The satellite also captured the glow from natural sources including moonlight, northern lights and naturally-occurring fires.
After Superstorm Sandy made landfall in late October, hard-hit New Jersey, lower Manhattan and the Rockaways appeared dark in the satellite images compared with surrounding areas -- the result of widespread power outages.