Black Marble: Astonishing NASA Images of Earth at Night

A complete flat map of the Earth by night composed out of Suomi NPP satellite images

A new series of spectacular images depicting our planet during nighttime was released by NASA on Wednesday, December 5.

The set of images, called “The Black Marble,” reveals the entire surface of the Earth at night in unprecedented detail, Space reports.

The pictures were captured by a VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) device located aboard the Suomi NPP satellite launched in space last year within a NASA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collaboration project.

The Black Marble project follows The Blue Marble 2012: a similarly impressive view of Earth during daytime offered by NASA earlier this year.

“For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night,” declared Steve Miller, a scientist at NOAA's Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.

“Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps.”

The project appears to me as one of the increasingly numerous attempts to bring science closer to the public by translating it into different types of art: probably the best way to actually make the public understand it.

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