The images above were acquired on July 25, 2013, and December 26, 2013, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi NPP satellite. The images show subtle differences in the amount of nighttime light around urban areas in the Southeastern United States between mid-summer and the December holidays. Turn on the image comparison tool to spot the differences.
Examining daily data from Suomi NPP, scientists have identified how patterns in nighttime light intensity change during major holiday seasons. According to the data, nighttime lights around many U.S. cities shine 20 to 50 percent brighter during Christmas and New Year’s when compared to light output during the rest of the year. Read more about it in this Image of the Day.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using VIIRS day-night band data provided by Miguel Román (NASA/GSFC). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.
Satellites detect increases in lighting around the holidays, particularly in suburbs and rural areas. While the trend says interesting things about culture, it also tells us something important about energy use.