WORLD AT NIGHT FROM SPACE

“Satellite Photo of Earth at Night”

Shown below is a famous NASA image that is often called a “satellite photo of earth at night”. It isn’t really a “photo”. Instead it is an image that was compiled using data from a sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite launched in 2011. This sensor allows researchers to observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours. It is a map of the location of lights on Earth’s surface. Each white dot on the map represents the light of a city, fire, ship at sea, oil well flare or other light source. The full-earth image is shown below along with detail images of the United States, Europe and Africa, South America, Asia and Australia.

Satellite Photo of the World at Night

Earth at night
This map shows the geographic distribution of cities. It clearly shows that cities are concentrated in Europe, the eastern United States, Japan, China and India. It is a better map for showing the geography of night time electricity consumption for outdoor lighting than it is for showing the geography of population. For example: the eastern United States is very bright but the more densely populated areas of China and India are not nearly as bright in this image because the amount of light per person is smaller. NASA Image.
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