Earth in the black

Earth in the black

Satellite images capture fine details of planet’s night lights.

By Alexandra Witze, 12:22 PM December 6, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — Lights from human activity shine brightly in a collection of new images showing Earth at night more clearly than ever before. Dubbed “Black Marble,” the high-resolution images were released December 5 at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The pictures come from an instrument on board the Suomi satellite, a joint venture between NASA and NOAA. The instrument’s “day-night” band takes pictures in low-light conditions by adjusting the exposure so that bright pixels don’t...

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