The Black Marble

NASA's Black Marble photos: Earth at NightSince I am an ex-aerospace engineer it can be safely assumed that I am a space geek. My favorite class in college was orbital dynamics (followed by astronomy), and I had photos of galactic clusters plastered up on my dorm room walls. Even though I’ve been out of the engineering world for a few years, I still like to tune in from time to time to see what’s new in space.

So when NASA released these highly detailed nighttime shots of Earth on December 5th, my eyes bugged out from their awesomeness. The photos were captured by the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite using a new sensor capable of detecting the light from a single ship in the ocean. Over hundreds of orbits the satellite captured these fantastically detailed views of the earth at night, which were later combined into these composite images and overlaid on existing Earth-at-night imagery from NASA.

Here are a few interesting images from the series. Click on the photos to see the hi-res versions in all their glory. You can also check out the full series on NASA Goddard’s flickr stream.

Africa, Europe, and the Middle East:
NASA's Black Marble photos: Africa, Europe, Middle East

Asia and Australia:
NASA's Black Marble photos: Asia

NASA's Black Marble photos: USA

The Nile River:
NASA's Black Marble photos: Nile River

Moon Phases over the Persian Gulf:
NASA's Black Marble photos: Moon Phases over Persian Gulf

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