Using satellite date, NASA scientists created this 30-second animation of the night side of Earth for one rotation of our planet. Earth’s night twinkles with light, and the first thing to stand out is the cities.
Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights
… said Chris Elvidge, a NOAA scientist who has studied them for 20 years.
This animation of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and thirteen days in October 2012. It took satellite 312 orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.