NASA's "Blue Marble" series has introduced countless space lovers to impossibly beautiful, high-resolution photos of Earth's swirling clouds and oceans, as seen from far above. Now a joint venture between NASA and the NOAA has introduced "Black Marble," an unprecedented photo-stitch of our planet's haunting urban sprawl, as seen from space at night. "Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights," said NOAA's Chris Elvidge. The nighttime photographs were taken from April to October aboard the Suomi NPP satellite, which is equipped with light-sensitive cameras capable of capturing every little flicker. "It's amazing what you can pick out," says Phil Plait at Slate:
[M]y favorites are the Nile River, Hawaii all by its lonesome in the Pacific, and of course my hometown of Boulder (and Denver). It always amazes me how city lights in the United States just suddenly stop west of the central time zone. But when I look up at night and see my dark skies, I'm thankful for it.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I lost all my money
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ismail Kadare's 6 favorite books
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
Subscribe to the Week