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In pictures: Earth aglow in new NASA images

New images from a NASA satellite show dazzling nighttime views of the Earth

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The United States is seen at night in a composite image constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite. The image shows “the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before,” NASA says.

NASA/AP

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This NASA image shows the Earth’s city lights at night. The image is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October, 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of the earth’s land surface and islands at night. The new data was mapped over existing blue marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.

NASA/AP

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Britain, Ireland and part of Western Europe are shown as it appeared on the night of March 27, 2012, in a NASA Earth Observatory image. The image was acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The image is based on data collected by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, auroras, wildfires, city lights and reflected moonlight.

NASA/Reuters

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A composite image of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East at night. The NASA Earth Observatory handout image was assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October, 2012.

NASA/Reuters

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The Nile River Valley and Delta is seen at night in a NASA composite image assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite on Oct. 13, 2012. The river valley and delta comprises less than 5 per cent of Egypt’s land area, but provides a home to roughly 97 per cent of the country’s population. Nothing makes the location of human population clearer than the lights illuminating the valley and delta at night. The city lights resemble a giant calla lily, just one with a kink in its stem near the city of Luxor. Some of the brightest lights occur around Cairo, but lights are abundant along the length of the river.

NASA/AP

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A NASA composite image shows Asia and Australia at night. The image was assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October, 2012.

NASA/Reuters

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The Korean Peninsula is seen at night from a NASA composite image assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite on Sept. 24, 2012. City lights at night are a fairly reliable indicator of where people live. But this isn’t always the case, and the Korean Peninsula shows why. As of July, 2012, South Korea’s population was about 49 million people, and North Korea’s population was estimated at about half that number. But where South Korea is gleaming with city lights, North Korea has hardly any lights at all, just a faint glimmer around Pyongyang. The wide-area image shows the Korean Peninsula, parts of China and Japan, the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. The white inset box encloses an area showing ship lights in the Yellow Sea. Many of the ships form a line, as if assembling along a watery border.

NASA/AP

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Lights in North, Central and South America are seen in this April 18, 2012, satellite image courtesy of NASA.

NASA/Reuters

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