Earth at Night

Satellite images of Earth at night have been a curiosity for the public and a tool of fundamental research for at least 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness.
Lights in the Darkness
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Lights in the Darkness

A strong solar wind stream stirred up a display of northern lights over northern Canada.

Published Dec 25, 2016

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Snow Blankets Great Lakes Region
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Snow Blankets Great Lakes Region

A cold air mass brought more snow across the Upper Midwest.

Published Dec 15, 2016

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Snow and Ice

Power Outages Plague Southeast
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Power Outages Plague Southeast

Hurricane Matthew knocked out power for more than one million customers as it grazed the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Published Oct 9, 2016

Image of the Day Atmosphere Life Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

Puerto Rico Goes Dark
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Puerto Rico Goes Dark

A power plant fire left much of the island without electricity.

Published Sep 23, 2016

Image of the Day Land Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing

Blue Cut Fire at Night
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Blue Cut Fire at Night

Landsat 8 captured a view in the dark with its Thermal Infrared Sensor.

Published Aug 19, 2016

Image of the Day Heat Fires Human Presence Remote Sensing

Rome at Night
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Rome at Night

The radial pattern of highways echoes the ancient saying that “all roads lead to Rome.”

Published Jul 28, 2016

Image of the Day Human Presence

Paris at Night
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Paris at Night

Even in a sea of lights, certain landmarks stand out.

Published Jul 11, 2016

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Scientists Show Connection Between Gas Flaring and Arctic Pollution
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Scientists Show Connection Between Gas Flaring and Arctic Pollution

Waste natural gas from industrial oil and gas fields could be a source of nitrogen dioxide and black carbon pollution, according to new research.

Published Apr 27, 2016

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Human Presence

Shale Revolution: As Clear as Night and Day
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Shale Revolution: As Clear as Night and Day

The Eagle Ford Shale is one of several gas and oil plays in North America that has taken on new life due to horizontal drilling technology and fracking.

Published Mar 23, 2016

Image of the Day Human Presence

Aurora Colors Skies Over Northern Europe
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Aurora Colors Skies Over Northern Europe

A sensor on the Suomi NPP satellite designed to detect faint light observed the aurora over northern Europe.

Published Mar 9, 2016

Image of the Day Atmosphere Unique Imagery Remote Sensing

Haifa By Day and By Night
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Haifa By Day and By Night

Astronauts are taught to concentrate on the shapes of coastlines for a visual cue about where they are when circling the planet. The nose of Cape Karmel and the bay that protects Haifa are shapes that stand out.

Published Mar 7, 2016

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

London at Night
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London at Night

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station take special care to acquire crisp night shots.

Published Feb 22, 2016

Image of the Day Human Presence

Elba and the Mediterranean at Night
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Elba and the Mediterranean at Night

The reflection of the Moon on the sea surface reveals highly complex patterns on the sea surface.

Published Feb 8, 2016

Image of the Day Land Water Human Presence

A Blizzard by Moonlight
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A Blizzard by Moonlight

The Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of a major storm system as it started dumping heavy snow on the eastern United States.

Published Jan 24, 2016

Image of the Day Severe Storms Human Presence Snow and Ice

Remnants of Patricia Drench Texas and Louisiana
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Remnants of Patricia Drench Texas and Louisiana

Remnants of Hurricane Patricia dropped heavy rains in Texas and Louisiana.

Published Oct 26, 2015

Atmosphere Severe Storms

India-Pakistan Border at Night
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India-Pakistan Border at Night

This photograph shows one of the few places on Earth where an international boundary can be seen at night.

Published Oct 5, 2015

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Fires at Night in the U.S. Northwest
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Fires at Night in the U.S. Northwest

Fires burn night and day across Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

Published Aug 22, 2015

Image of the Day Heat Land Life Fires

Mid-Summer Auroras
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Mid-Summer Auroras

Solar storms smacked into Earth’s magnetic field and provoked auroras over the southern and northern hemisphere just after the summer solstice.

Published Jun 28, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere Unique Imagery

Night-Shining Clouds
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Night-Shining Clouds

High-altitude clouds appeared as far south as the continental United States in early June 2015.

Published Jun 19, 2015

Image of the Day Remote Sensing

Just Another Night Over Java
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Just Another Night Over Java

This astronaut photograph includes lights from several sources: cities, roads, fishing boats, gas flares, lightning, and even glowing air.

Published May 30, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence

Scandinavia at Night
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Scandinavia at Night

City lights trace the coastlines, while moonlight illuminates the snow and clouds.

Published May 11, 2015

Image of the Day Human Presence

Power Outages Plague Nepal
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Power Outages Plague Nepal

Darkness descended on much of Nepal after a powerful earthquake rattled the country’s already stressed electrical grid.

Published May 2, 2015

Image of the Day Human Presence Earthquakes

Cairo at Night
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Cairo at Night

Home to one-fifth of Egypt’s population, it is the largest city in the Middle East and Africa’s second largest.

Published Apr 6, 2015

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Looking Down and Up at the Aurora
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Looking Down and Up at the Aurora

On Saint Patrick’s Day, the Suomi NPP satellite acquired a view of the aurora from above while citizen scientists were busily collecting shots from below.

Published Mar 29, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere Unique Imagery Remote Sensing

Texas and the Gulf at Night
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Texas and the Gulf at Night

Cities, moonlight, and fossil-fuel industries frame the Gulf of Mexico with light.

Published Mar 23, 2015

Image of the Day Life Human Presence

Eastern Canada, Day and Night
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Eastern Canada, Day and Night

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took these midwinter panoramas of the St. Lawrence River and surrounding cities.

Published Feb 16, 2015

Image of the Day Land Water Human Presence Snow and Ice

India by Night and Day
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India by Night and Day

Two photos, taken 48 years apart, provide contrasting views of southern Asia.

Published Jan 26, 2015

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

The Electric Eye of Cyclone Bansi
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The Electric Eye of Cyclone Bansi

Lightning illuminated the center of the storm as the space station flew over at night.

Published Jan 25, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere

The Lights of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
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The Lights of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

According to satellite data, nighttime lights in some Middle Eastern cities shine more than 50 percent brighter during Ramadan than during the rest of the year.

Published Jan 1, 2015

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing

Bursting with Holiday Energy
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Bursting with Holiday Energy

Satellites detect increases in lighting around the holidays, particularly in suburbs and rural areas. While the trend says interesting things about culture, it also tells us something important about energy use.

Published Dec 25, 2014

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing