This new, cloud-free view of Earth at night is a composite of data acquired over nine days in April and 13 days in October, 2012. The joint NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite (Suomi NPP) needed 312 orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get clear shots of every parcel of land surface. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view. The result is beautiful, and meaningful, as the video below explains.
Video Credits: NASA’s Earth Observatory with data processed by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center and combined with a version of the Earth Observatory’s Blue Marble: Next Generation.
Bottom line: Suomi NPP was used to create this new cloud-free view of Earth at night.