Thanks to NASA’s and NOAA’s new satellite, Suomi NPP, we have the pleasure of viewing the clearest image of Earth at night ever available.
Suomi NPP is different than most satellites; it’s equipped with a new sensor called VIIRS. This sensor has the ability to capture images at night without moonlight. It can distinguish night lights with six times higher spatial resolution and 250 times higher lighting level resolution than ever before.
“It’s like having three simultaneous low-light cameras operating at once and we pick the best of various cameras, depending on where we’re looking in the scene,” says Steve Miller, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University.
The Sumoi NPP can detect the faintest lights from a highway lamp or even a fishing boat. Researchers plan to use this new technology to study and locate gas flares, major population centers, wildfires, and even auroras.
Paul Hudson | Elite