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.
Winnipeg at Night
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Winnipeg at Night

Situated at the confluence of three rivers and a railroad hub in Manitoba, the city stands out from the fertile farmland of the region.

Published Jun 5, 2022

Image of the Day Human Presence

West Virginia’s Dark, Starry Parks
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West Virginia’s Dark, Starry Parks

Located in the highlands of the Allegheny Mountains, three new "dark sky parks" are far from the glow of major cities.

Published Jun 6, 2022

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Wildfires Scorch Northern New Mexico
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Wildfires Scorch Northern New Mexico

Strong, gusty winds and an exceedingly dry landscape fueled an early and severe outbreak of fire.

Published Apr 25, 2022

Image of the Day Atmosphere Heat Land Drought Fires Human Presence Remote Sensing

Bathed in a Sea of Artificial Light
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Bathed in a Sea of Artificial Light

A new global atlas extends measurements of nighttime lights to the sea, revealing marine ecosystems affected by light pollution.

Published Mar 2, 2022

Image of the Day Water Human Presence Remote Sensing

Brilliant Borealis
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Brilliant Borealis

A blast of high-speed solar wind provoked dancing auroras in early February.

Published Feb 8, 2022

Image of the Day Atmosphere Remote Sensing

A Wolf Awakens at Night
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A Wolf Awakens at Night

Incandescent lava erupts from a volcano in the Galápagos Islands.

Published Jan 7, 2022

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Seeing Suomi
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Seeing Suomi

Reindeer, indigenous people, and modern meteorology converge in a winter scene from Nordic Europe.

Published Dec 25, 2021

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Human Presence Snow and Ice Remote Sensing

Nighttime Images Detail Kentucky Blackout
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Nighttime Images Detail Kentucky Blackout

Tornadoes and severe winds knocked out power to Mayfield and surrounding towns.

Published Dec 15, 2021

Atmosphere Land Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

Satellites Spot Tornado Tracks Across Midwest
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Satellites Spot Tornado Tracks Across Midwest

Preliminary reports suggest one tornado may have traveled nearly 200 miles, causing severe damage and human losses in Kentucky and three other states.

Published Dec 13, 2021

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

Hunting Milky Seas by Satellite
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Hunting Milky Seas by Satellite

Like a sea captain tracking a white whale, Steve Miller has been chasing a rare form of marine bioluminescence for decades.

Published Nov 2, 2021

Image of the Day Water Human Presence Remote Sensing

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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