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
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Why insects are the future of food
Subscribe to the Week