In October of last year, NASA and NOAA got together and launched the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, which, as NASA’s website explains, “…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.”
The satellite was used to record images of earth from April 2012 to October 2012.
“Scientists then mapped the satellite’s data – 2.5 terabytes of it – over an earlier Blue Marble image,” an article in The Atlantic explains, “transforming that picture’s daytime blues, browns, and greens into a nightime palette of blues, blacks, and gold.”
“Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights,” asserts NOAA scientist Chris Elvidge on NASA’s website.
It’s a pretty picture of world. Be sure to watch the video here.