NASA today unveiled an unprecedented new look at the Earth at night as it released a global composite satellite image of the planet.
The cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite show the glow of natural and human-built phenomena in greater detail than ever before.
A new sensor on the satellite, which is sensitive enough to pick up the glow from a single ship in the sea, means scientists can now observe the Earth’s surface during the night as well as the day.
“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. “Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps.”