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  • In daylight, our big blue marble is all land, oceans and clouds.

  • But the night is electric.

  • Seen from space, our planet comes alive with light.

  • This new view of the Earth's night lights is a composite of data acquired by the polar orbiting Suomi NPP satellite.

  • Aboard the satellite, a newly designed instrument called VIIRS is able to collect what scientists say is a remarkably detailed view of the Earth at night.

  • In some places, city lights resemble solitary stars in the night sky.

  • In other places, dense clusters of galaxies.

  • The satellite can even distinguish brightly lit boats that line Egypt's Nile River.

  • And the massive flames from gas flares produced as a byproduct of oil and gas exploration in the Middle East.

  • As the satellite passes over the darkness of the Himalayas, it shows how human settlement is bound by natural borders.

  • Even political borders are starkly visible in this view of North and South Korea.

  • And in a line of fishing boats that dot the Yellow Sea.

  • But not all light is electric. Glowing just as bright, flaming wildfires burn across Australia.

  • This new view of the Earth at night offers a unique perspective for exploring the many places in which we live,

  • and seeing the impact of human populations around the world, no matter how faint or how bright their lights shine.

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