Composite map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite for nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC.
Scientists unveiled on December 5, 2012, an unprecedented look at planet Earth at night. A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership or Suomi NPP, previously known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) and NPP-Bridge is a weather satellite operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The satellite is named after Verner E. Suomi, a meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The name was announced on January 24, 2012, three months after the satellite’s launch. The satellite was launched from Space Launch Complex 2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by a United Launch Alliance Delta II 7920-10C on October 28, 2011, and was subsequently was placed into a sun-synchronous orbit 824 km (512 miles) above the Earth. The Sun-synchronous orbit is mostly selected for Earth observation satellites that should be operated at a relatively constant altitude suitable for its Earth observation instruments.
This new global view and animation of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite.
The data from Sumoi NPP was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012 — taking 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC
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