NASA has released an incredible new set of photos that show Earth at night with greater detail than ever before, the agency said today.
The new photos are possible thanks to a new sensor aboard the NASA-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite that was launched last year. Thanks to the new sensor, Earth’s scientists can see the surface during nighttime hours. The sensor is so sensitive that it can “detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea.”
NASA and the NOAA said it’s important to better understand what’s happening on Earth at night. “For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night,” said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA’s Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, in a statement. “Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps.”
You can look at these photos in full high-resolution detail over at Flickr or check out the slideshow below for more: