India Illuminated at Night, as Seen from Space, in Beautiful New NASA Images

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Highlights
  • Night Light images use light intensity to show population density changes
  • The last such photos were released in 2012
  • NASA is assessing whether the photos can be released everyday

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 2016 nasa India 2016 NASA
India - 2017

india 2012 nasa India Night Light Image NASAIndia - 2012

Composite Global Map 2016 Global Satellite Images 2017Global Composite Maps - 2017

2016 north america usa nasa Continental US NASA Satellite ImageContinental US - 2017

2016 europe nasa Europe NASA ImageEurope - 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.

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