The Black Marble

NASA The Black Marble 1 We all know about the historic Blue Marble images from NASA, they’ve now launched an amazing ‘Black Marble’ series that features dazzling and cloud-free images of ‘The Earth at Night’ and its city lights. These stunning images were constructed using a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, with a new sensor…the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiomter Suite (VIIRS) which is “sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea,” according to NASA.

NASA The Black Marble Video Earth at Night

NASA Press Release

Scientists unveiled today an unprecedented new look at our planet at night. A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before.
Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can observe our planet fully illuminated by the sun. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite launched last year, scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours.

The new sensor, the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea. Satellites in the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program have been making observations with low-light sensors for 40 years. But the VIIRS day-night band can better detect and resolve Earth’s night lights.

The new, higher resolution composite image of Earth at night was released at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. This and other VIIRS day-night band images are providing researchers with valuable data for a wide variety of previously unseen or poorly seen events.

All Images ©2012 & Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Black Marble”

  1. Amazing — a single ship??? I had recently read about night “light pollution” and was very conscious about finding any outdoor lights that did not stream light upward, only out and down when we needed the illumination. Viewing a starry sky without that light interference is always spectacular. ~ Kat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s