Earth at Night

Satellite images of Earth at night have been a curiosity for the public and a tool of fundamental research for at least 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness.
City Lights of Asia and Australia
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City Lights of Asia and Australia

A sensitive new sensor allows a clearer view of dim night lights on Earth.

Published Nov 28, 2012

Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence

City Lights of the Americas
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City Lights of the Americas

The Suomi NPP satellite has a potent new sensor for distinguishing Earth’s night lights.

Published Nov 28, 2012

Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence

Night Lights 2012 Map
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Night Lights 2012 Map

The lights of cities and villages trace the outlines of civilization in this global view.

Published Nov 27, 2012

Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing

South Asian Night Lights
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South Asian Night Lights

Here’s what India looked like to the Suomi NPP satellite during Diwali.

Published Nov 15, 2012

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Human Presence

Blackout in New Jersey and New York
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Blackout in New Jersey and New York

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, densely populated areas of the U.S. East Coast sat in the dark.

Published Nov 2, 2012

Image of the Day Severe Storms Human Presence

Sandy after Landfall
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Sandy after Landfall

Acquired October 30, 2012, this nighttime image shows Sandy after the storm made landfall.

Published Oct 30, 2012

Atmosphere Severe Storms

Overnight View of Hurricane Sandy
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Overnight View of Hurricane Sandy

Special sensors on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this view of the storm and the East Coast of the United States as lit by moonlight.

Published Oct 29, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water Severe Storms Human Presence

Auroras over North America
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Auroras over North America

A geomagnetic storm in early October lit up the skies with northern lights that were detected by an Earth-observing satellite.

Published Oct 10, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Kuwait City at Night
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Kuwait City at Night

The patterns and colors of lighting reveal the urban geography of the capital city.

Published Sep 17, 2012

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Gas Flares in Bahía de Campeche
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Gas Flares in Bahía de Campeche

Daytime and nighttime satellite imagery shows the burning of methane that goes together with the oil extraction process.

Published Sep 14, 2012

Image of the Day Land Water Human Presence

Night View of Hurricane Isaac
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Night View of Hurricane Isaac

Isaac, a slow-moving storm, hit the Gulf Coast as a category 1 hurricane on August 28, 2012.

Published Aug 30, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere Severe Storms

Mount Tongariro Erupts
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Mount Tongariro Erupts

A new satellite captured the eruption of a volcano at night on New Zealand's North Island.

Published Aug 8, 2012

Image of the Day Land Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Night View of Fires in Siberia
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Night View of Fires in Siberia

The Suomi NPP satellite carries an instrument so sensitive to low light levels that it can detect wildfires in the middle of the night.

Published Aug 7, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Fires

The Lights of London
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The Lights of London

Unique satellite instruments capture the view of the Olympic host city at night.

Published Jul 26, 2012

Image of the Day Human Presence

Power Outages in Washington, DC Area
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Power Outages in Washington, DC Area

A powerful line of thunderstorms knocked out power to millions of households in the U.S. Midwest and Mid Atlantic on June 29, 2012.

Published Jul 4, 2012

Image of the Day Severe Storms Human Presence

U.S. Atlantic Seaboard at Night
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U.S. Atlantic Seaboard at Night

One of the largest conurbations in the world is located along East Coast of the United States, and stretches from Boston to Washington.

Published May 23, 2011

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

City Lights, 2003
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City Lights, 2003

Observations collected at night shed light on the changing face of our planet.

Published Nov 29, 2008

Image of the Day Human Presence

Tokyo at Night
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Tokyo at Night

This nighttime photograph of Tokyo, Japan, was taken by International Space Station astronaut Dan Tani on February 5, 2008. The heart of the city is brightest, with ribbons of lights radiating outward from the center along streets and railways.

Published Apr 22, 2008

Image of the Day Land Life Human Presence

Earth’s City Lights 1994
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Earth’s City Lights 1994

Satellite map of the man-made lights on Earth, which scientists use to study development and urbanization.

Published Oct 23, 2000

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing