The "Blue Marble" photograph of the Earth was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972. NASA-NOAA has released "Black Marble - City Lights 2012", a Flickr slideshow of images taken by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP).
This is one of the images. For the rest of the slide show and higher resolution images, check out this link.
There is also a Youtube video of a full revolution
This link to a NASA press release has higher resolutions and other views taken by the Suomi NPP satellite.
Scientists unveiled today an unprecedented new look at our planet at night. A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before.
Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can observe our planet fully illuminated by the sun. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite launched last year, scientists now can observe Earth's atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours.
The new sensor, the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth's atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea. Satellites in the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program have been making observations with low-light sensors for 40 years. But the VIIRS day-night band can better detect and resolve Earth's night lights.
Link to NASA Earth Observatory Feature Art webpage with more images and videos.
Suomi isn't all about pretty pictures. It was able to image Hurricane Sandy at night illuminated by moonlight before it hit the coast.
I have always enjoyed the night sky. I was born in 1955 and lived on a dairy farm in Kansas before leaving for college. Back then, none of the farms were lit at night, so a clear sky showed the Milky Way in all it's splendor. Later in High School, one of the farms installed a mercury vapor light, and the other farmers had to keep up with the Joneses. Since then, it has been harder and harder to find a spot dark enough to enjoy a meteor shower or any other event in space. Now, NASA shows just how difficult it has become to avoid the light pollution.
I watched this being reported on BBC World News, December 6, 2012 on my local PBS station and thought that it was worth sharing on Daily Kos. BBC posted this on their website.
After commenting on it in an Open Thread, I was asked to turn it into a diary. I had hoped that someone who could add some value to these images would have written about them, so please comment and include any corrections that should be made to this diary.