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New night lights maps open up possible real-time applications

12 April 2017

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NASA scientists are releasing new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet.

Satellite images of Earth at night — often referred to as "night lights" — have been a gee-whiz curiosity for the public and a tool for fundamental research for nearly 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness. Produced every decade or so, such maps have spawned hundreds of pop-culture uses and dozens of economic, social science and environmental research projects.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - View of earth at night

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