NASA has released a new version of its Earth at Night image showing just how lit up the earth is at night from both natural and man made light sources. The satellite used is even powerful enough to pick up the lights from ships in the ocean.
In daylight our big blue marble is all land, oceans and clouds. But the night – is electric.
This view of Earth at night is a cloud-free view from space as acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite (Suomi NPP). A joint program by NASA and NOAA, Suomi NPP captured this nighttime image by the satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The day-night band on VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as city lights, gas flares, and wildfires. This new image is a composite of data acquired over nine days in April and thirteen days in October 2012. It took 312 satellite orbits and 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of land surface.
And a flattened version of it that makes NZ look pretty dark compared to some of those massive urban areas like Europe or the eastern half of the US.
They even have a google maps type viewer letting you zoom in on the image, here is New Zealand