Beautiful satellite images of India, as seen from space at night, have been released by NASA as part of its trove of new global maps of the Earth. The satellite images – also called ‘Night Lights’ – show the growth in population, based on the light intensity, since the last time the images were released in 2012.
Here’s a look at some of the images taken by NASA:
India - 2017
India - 2012
Global Composite Maps - 2017
Continental US - 2017
Europe - 2017
Factors such as phases of the moon, seasonal vegetation, clouds, aerosols, snow and ice covers, and atmospheric emissions can change the way light is observed in different parts of the world. Therefore, maps were taken all year long so that the composite global image has the clearest night views.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite takes high-resolution images of city lights to compare population density. The images can help track growth when compared with the 2012 photos. The US space agency is also evaluating whether the night light photos can be updated daily; a conclusion on the matter is expected by year-end. NASA is planning to automate the image processing so users can get 'Night Lights' images within hours of being captured. This can help in short-term weather forecasting and disaster response, the agency says.