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Saturday, December 22, 2012
LIGHTS BACK ON: WHAT NIGHT SAYS ABOUT US
SATELLITE REVEALS OUR DARK SIDES-- The end of the Mayan calendar was not
doomsday. Obviously, the planet
survived. For once a deadline carved in
stone was meaningless. Moving on to the
image at hand, it is the USA at night assembled in composite from data acquired
by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012.
The image was made possible
by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging
Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from
green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals
such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight.
“Nighttime light is the
most interesting data that I’ve had a chance to work with,” says Chris Elvidge,
who leads the Earth Observation Group at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data
Center. “I’m always amazed at what city light images show us about human
Debris from 12-21-12 Doomsday
Scientists seeking to model
the distribution of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to monitor
the activity of commercial fishing fleets have approached his research group.
Biologists have examined how urban growth has fragmented animal habitat.
Elvidge even learned once of a study of dictatorships in various parts of the
world and how nighttime lights had a tendency to expand in the dictator’s
hometown or province.
Named for satellite
meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, NPP flies over any given point on Earth's
surface twice each day at roughly 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The polar-orbiting
satellite flies 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface, sending its data
once per orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to
local direct broadcast users distributed around the world. Suomi NPP is managed
by NASA with operational support from NOAA and its Joint Polar Satellite
System, which manages the satellite's ground system.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon,
using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National
Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between
NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. UPDATE: NASA explains why the world didn't end on 12-21-12. Go to link: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=156889371