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.
Auroras Announce the Solar Cycle
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Auroras Announce the Solar Cycle

The 25th cycle is underway, and it brings more frequent opportunities to see the northern lights and southern lights.

Published Oct 14, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Remote Sensing

Cumbre Vieja Lights Up the Night
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Cumbre Vieja Lights Up the Night

An astronaut photograph shows the proximity of a volcanic eruption to nearby cities on the Spanish island of La Palma.

Published Sep 24, 2021

Image of the Day Land Volcanoes Human Presence

Satellite Observes Power Outages in New Orleans
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Satellite Observes Power Outages in New Orleans

Three days after Hurricane Ida, many people in Louisiana are going without electric power due to downed power lines and damaged transmission towers.

Published Sep 1, 2021

Image of the Day Land Floods Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

One Night in Bangkok
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One Night in Bangkok

Thailand’s capital and most populous city lights up southeast Asia.

Published May 25, 2021

Image of the Day Human Presence

Arabian Night Lights
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Arabian Night Lights

Researchers have found another use for night lights imagery: tracking unregulated and under-reported fishing.

Published May 17, 2021

Image of the Day Water Remote Sensing

Experimenting with Tucson Night Lights
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Experimenting with Tucson Night Lights

Using satellites, scientists are starting to better understand the specific sources of urban light pollution.

Published May 3, 2021

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Surigae Stirs Up the Pacific
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Surigae Stirs Up the Pacific

The super typhoon reached extreme intensity earlier in the year than any storm in the satellite era.

Published Apr 19, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water Severe Storms Remote Sensing

Ships Passing in the Night
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Ships Passing in the Night

In the North Sea, much of the ship traffic is concentrated around oil rigs in the center of the sea.

Published Mar 27, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water Human Presence Remote Sensing

Landsat Views a Nighttime Eruption
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Landsat Views a Nighttime Eruption

Lava from the volcanic eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula lights up clouds from below.

Published Mar 23, 2021

Atmosphere Land Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Volcanic Eruption Lights Up Iceland
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Volcanic Eruption Lights Up Iceland

In an eruption not far from Reykjavik, lava poured from spatter cones along a new fissure on Reykjanes peninsula.

Published Mar 22, 2021

Image of the Day Land Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Stars in Motion
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Stars in Motion

A compilation of dozens of long-exposure photographs taken from space turns stars into stunning rings and city lights and fires into colorful streaks.

Published Mar 6, 2021

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Japan at Night
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Japan at Night

The contrast of the bright lights against the dark landscape makes this a favorite astronaut photo.

Published Feb 28, 2021

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

A Glowing Plume Over Mount Etna
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A Glowing Plume Over Mount Etna

Intense lava fountains and lava flows illuminated a volcanic plume spreading across Sicily during an unusually pitched night of activity at the Italian volcano.

Published Feb 25, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes Human Presence Remote Sensing

Extreme Winter Weather Causes U.S. Blackouts
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Extreme Winter Weather Causes U.S. Blackouts

Texas and other central states set records for cold temperatures during a persistent blast of arctic air.

Published Feb 16, 2021

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

Bright Aurora, Below Freezing
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Bright Aurora, Below Freezing

In early February, fast solar winds brought beautiful northern lights to North America and Europe.

Published Feb 13, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Remote Sensing

Bustling Persian Gulf at Night
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Bustling Persian Gulf at Night

City lights and shipping traffic mark one of the world’s major economic crossroads.

Published Jan 24, 2021

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Turin Lights the Way Forward
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Turin Lights the Way Forward

Through Italy’s Smart Road Decree, the city was chosen as a test site for autonomous driving vehicles.

Published Oct 18, 2020

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Super Typhoon Haishen
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Super Typhoon Haishen

The storm is poised to hit the Korean Peninsula, making it the third typhoon to encounter the peninsula in just two weeks.

Published Sep 4, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Heat Land Water Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

Laura Makes Landfall
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Laura Makes Landfall

A satellite acquired this nighttime view of the storm two hours after landfall.

Published Aug 27, 2020

Atmosphere Land Water Floods Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

A Dangerous Storm Nears the Gulf Coast
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A Dangerous Storm Nears the Gulf Coast

Hurricane Laura is poised to cause an unusually large and damaging storm surge.

Published Aug 26, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Water Floods Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

All Clear on the Western Front
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All Clear on the Western Front

The Suomi NPP satellite got a clear view of Western Europe, its nighttime lights, and its moonlit landscape.

Published Aug 8, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence Remote Sensing

Xiamen and Quanzhou
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Xiamen and Quanzhou

Bright lights of these coastal cities of China are sandwiched between mountains and the sea.

Published Aug 9, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Human Presence

Hurricane Isaias Moves Over the Caribbean
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Hurricane Isaias Moves Over the Caribbean

The category 1 hurricane is headed for a brush with Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Published Jul 31, 2020

Atmosphere Water Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

Winter Light for Antarctica
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Winter Light for Antarctica

A satellite caught a glimpse of the aurora australis over the Southern Ocean in July 2020.

Published Jul 29, 2020

Atmosphere Unique Imagery Remote Sensing

Hurricane Douglas Heads Toward Hawaii
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Hurricane Douglas Heads Toward Hawaii

Heavy rains and winds may result in flash flooding, landslides, and life-threatening surf conditions.

Published Jul 25, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Water Human Presence Remote Sensing

Ankara at Night
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Ankara at Night

Bright shades of white and yellow light up the geographic and political heart of Turkey.

Published Jun 28, 2020

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Budapest at Night
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Budapest at Night

Divided by the Danube River, the city is actually a unification of three different older communities.

Published May 24, 2020

Image of the Day Human Presence

Nighttime Waves Over the South Atlantic
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Nighttime Waves Over the South Atlantic

A layer of marine stratocumulus clouds off the west coast of Africa displayed some particularly complex wave patterns.

Published May 16, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water Remote Sensing

Tropical Cyclone Harold Blasts Vanuatu
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Tropical Cyclone Harold Blasts Vanuatu

The category 5 storm wreaked havoc on the small island nation in the South Pacific.

Published Apr 6, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Water Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

Nighttime Images Capture Change in China
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Nighttime Images Capture Change in China

Night lights not only speak to where we live, but how.

Published Mar 26, 2020

Image of the Day Land Life Dust and Haze Human Presence Remote Sensing