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Black Marble: Amazing Earth at Night Photos from Space

Moon Phases Over the Persian Gulf - Oct. 15

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

amount of moonlight decreases, some land surface features become harder to detect, but the lights from cities and ships become more obvious.

Marine Layer Clouds off the California Coast

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

On Sept. 27, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of low-lying marine layer clouds along the coast of California.

Marine Layer Clouds off the California Coast in Thermal Imaging

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

An irregularly-shaped patch of high clouds hovered off the coast of California, and moonlight caused the high clouds to cast distinct shadows on the marine layer clouds below. This image was acquired Sept. 27, 2012.

Waves in Airglow

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

In April 2012, waves in Earth’s “airglow” spread across the nighttime skies of northern Texas like ripples in a pond. In this case, the waves were provoked by a massive thunderstorm.

Waves in Airglow

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

On April 15, 2012, waves in Earth’s “airglow” spread across the nighttime skies of northern Texas. Airglow is a layer of nighttime light emissions caused by chemical reactions high in Earth’s atmosphere. A variety of reactions involving oxygen, sodium, ozone and nitrogen result in the production of a very faint amount of light.

Gas Drilling, North Dakota

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

Northwestern North Dakota is one of the least-densely populated parts of the United States. Cities and people are scarce, but satellite imagery shows the area has been aglow at night in recent years. This image was taken Nov. 12, 2012.

Monitoring the Arctic during Polar Darkness

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

Scientists watched the Arctic with particular interest in the summer of 2012, when Arctic sea ice set a new record low. VIIRS acquired this nighttime view of sea ice north of Russia and Alaska on October 30, 2012.

Mustang Complex Fires in Idaho

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

On Aug. 29, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of wildfires burning in Idaho and Montana.

Mustang Complex Fires in Idaho Hot Spots

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

On Aug. 29, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of wildfires burning in Idaho and Montana. Numerous hot spots from the Mustang Complex Fire are visible in northern Idaho.

Auroras Light up the Antarctic Night

NOAA/NASA/SuomiNPP

On July 15, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of the aurora australis, or “southern lights,” over Antartica’s Queen Maud Land and the Princess Ragnhild Coast.

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