1. #1
    Epic! Sayl's Avatar
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    Earth at night: the black marble

    Featured at the American Geophysical Union conference today...

    Quote Originally Posted by NASA
    Scientists unveiled today an unprecedented new look at our planet at night.

    Away from human settlements, light still shines. Wildfires and volcanoes rage. Oil and gas wells burn like candles. Auroras dance across the polar skies. Moonlight and starlight reflect off the water, snow, clouds, and deserts. Even the air and ocean sometimes glow.

    A handful of scientists have observed earthly night lights over the past four decades with military satellites and astronaut photography. But in 2012, the view became significantly clearer. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite — launched in October 2011 by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Defense — carries a low-light sensor that can distinguish night lights with six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels (dynamic range) than before. Also, because Suomi NPP is a civilian science satellite, data is available to scientists within minutes to hours of acquisition.

    The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP can observe dim light down to the scale of an isolated highway lamp or fishing boat. It can even detect faint, nocturnal atmospheric light — known as airglow — and observe clouds lit by it. Through the use of its “day-night band,” VIIRS can make the first quantitative measurements of light emissions and reflections, distinguishing the intensity and the sources of night light. The sum of these measurements gives us a global view of the human footprint on the Earth.

    [Full press release]

    We've seen composite imagery like this before, but certainly not at this level of detail (acquired over 312 satellite orbits, processing 2.5 terabytes of data).

    The full set of images and a complete interactive map are available at: The Black Marble

    Edited to add: this backup link for Goddard's Flickr image gallery, since the Earth Observatory site is either having issues or inundated with traffic at the moment.
    Last edited by Sayl; 2012-12-06 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Added URL

  2. #2
    That was amazing, really all that I can say.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Hastings95 View Post
    That was amazing, really all that I can say.
    Indeed it is.

  4. #4
    Pandaren Monk Klutzington's Avatar
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    I feel.... enlightened.

    Buh-dum-tssh.

    No really. That video was very intriguing.

  5. #5
    Scarab Lord Arkenaw's Avatar
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    It's ok I guess. Stuff like this hasn't impressed me since I was 12.

  6. #6
    The Lightbringer Collegeguy's Avatar
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    Meanwhile, in North Korea.


  7. #7
    The Lightbringer Belize's Avatar
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    Can definitively make a comparison to Hive-Planets from fiction, where you see the giant circles of cities from space

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Arkenaw View Post
    It's ok I guess. Stuff like this hasn't impressed me since I was 12.
    Always has to be someone who makes a comment like this

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Collegeguy View Post
    Meanwhile, in North Korea.

    *pic*
    Love that pic, guess Jon Stewart was pretty spot on when he called the lower east side of Manhattan "Little North Korea" after hurricane sandy

  10. #10
    Epic! Sayl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Collegeguy View Post
    And it hasn't changed in at least 20 years.

  11. #11
    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    This is awesome, I rememeber the first time I saw the original picture of Earth at night, it was amazing. The landscape looked like spider webs in many places.

    And my country has advanced somewhat. It's becoming harder to destinguish the borders with neighbours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sayl View Post
    And it hasn't changed in at least 20 years.
    Yes it has! South Korea is brighter.

  12. #12
    Pandaren Monk Zogarth's Avatar
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    Earth if pretty. And damn Australia is a dark place to live

  13. #13
    That was truly amazing. Thanks for that!
    Quote Originally Posted by Warwithin View Post
    Politicians put their hand on the BIBLE and swore to uphold the CONSTITUTION. They did not put their hand on the CONSTITUTION and swear to uphold the BIBLE.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Jensen View Post
    Except maybe Morgan Freeman. That man could convince God to be an atheist with that voice of his . . .

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Arkenaw View Post
    It's ok I guess. Stuff like this hasn't impressed me since I was 12.


    I think it's pretty awesome.

  15. #15
    Herald of the Titans Ciddy's Avatar
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    Nice! I still remember the first time I saw the "pale blue dot" image and how awesome that was. It's always cool to see stuff like this.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Frostys99 View Post
    Always has to be someone who makes a comment like this
    And? He's right, this may have been impressive and interesting when you were a kid. Not today though, this belongs in the category common knowledge. Are you impressed when someone tells you the earth orbits around the sun as well?

  17. #17
    Pandaren Monk Mnevis's Avatar
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    Whenever I see a night-sky map, I'm looking at how far I'd have to go to get a good look at the night sky. I don't wish I lived in the boonies of Nevada or Arizona or Canada, but IMO looking up at clear dark night away from all these lights is a million times more impressive than looking down at them. Don't get me wrong, I love satellite imagery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zogarth View Post
    Earth if pretty. And damn Australia is a dark place to live
    Anyone from AUS? Seemed like in that image, there were dozens of fairly huge wildfires going at once, is that real or is that a composite of, like, a whole summer?

    And just because I was promised auroras and didn't get any:


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