Earth at Night

At Astronomy Pic of the Day there is a great image of your planet at night.

Explanation: This remarkably complete view of Earth at night is a composite of cloud-free, nighttime images. The images were collected during April and October 2012 by the Suomi-NPP satellite from polar orbit about 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface using its Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS offers greatly improved resolution and sensitivity compared to past global nightlight detecting instrumentation on DMSP satellites. It also has advantages compared to cameras on the International Space Station, passing over the same point on Earth every two or three days while Suomi-NPP passes over the same point twice a day at about 1:30am and 1:30pm local time. Easy to recognize here, city lights identify major population centers, tracking the effects of human activity and influence across the globe. That makes nighttime images of our fair planet among the most interesting and important views from space.

Click the image for a much larger version.

It is interesting to compare the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern.  Compare North Korea to the South.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Father K says:

    I don’t understand why there is so much light over the western part of Australia – all that area is wilderness and desert – there should be a lot more light on the east coast.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Z, as you know having flown to Italy and most likely some flights were at night, there is nothing so beautiful as seeing the land and sea formations with the outlines of the lights from the sky. What a beautiful world we have been given from God.

  3. Mary Jane says:

    Awesome photo. Makes a great desktop/laptop background, too! :)

  4. fvhale says:

    @Father K: The short video at the NASA site explains that the imaging records more than electric light. What is seen in Western Australia is wildfires. The system picks up visible and infrared (i.e. heat) data.

  5. AvantiBev says:

    Ah my beautiful, beloved Wyoming – wild and wonderful. You are IN THE BLACK in more ways than one. Someday soon leaving well-lit and broke Ill-annoyed behind forever!

  6. John Fannon says:

    It’s a pity that the scale is not large enough to see the light emitted from the Al Gore residence, which could be brighter than a small city, if the reports about his profligate energy consumption are to be believed. (Ah but he offsets that with a carbon indulgence – silly me!)

  7. Father K says:

    fvhale – thanks for that. WOW. Awesome

Comments are closed.