Amazing photos recently released by NASA show the nighttime Earth with a clarity never seen before. They show probably the most clear images of human expansion across the planet. The showcase the light from cities and towns across the globe.
The highly enhanced nighttime Earth images were released on Wednesday
In a composite satellite image released by the administration, the lights from nighttime Earth show up in startling detail, with a resolution so fine it allows zooming in to a very close level. The series of images was taken by VIIRS, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, over the last year. The composite picture makes up the first global night image released since 2012.
This type of photo is usually developed every ten years, but NASA and other space agencies are considering increasing the frequency of this model generation. These photos can be extremely valuable in studying the urban sprawl, migration patterns, and the weather. In fact, starting with this year, NASA is hoping to begin gathering data on a daily basis to more accurately measure electrical usage across the globe.
The images collected this year are of a far higher resolution than those collected in 2012. A closer examination shows extensive growth in developing countries, mainly in southern and southeast Asia.
The difficulties in taking images of the nighttime Earth can be surprising. Between varying amounts of light striking the Earth at any point, to the passing phases of the moon, there can be many complications.
The VIIRS satellite has improved technology making the photography process much more accurate and simple. It is capable of detecting light in twenty-two different wavelengths, making it more sensitive than any similar satellite currently in orbit. In fact, it is so accurate it was able to map electrical outages during Hurricane Matthew’s march across the Caribbean. This technology’s future applications and potential are still being discovered.
Image Source: Wikimedia