NASA’s Blue Marble…Side B.

by Jason Major on February 2, 2012

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Earth's eastern hemisphere made from Suomi NPP satellite images. (NASA/NOAA)

In response to last week’s incredibly popular “Blue Marble” image, NASA and NOAA have released a companion version, this one showing part of our planet’s eastern hemisphere.

The image is a composite, made from six separate high-resolution scans taken on January 23 by NASA’s recently-renamed Suomi NPP satellite.

From the description on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Flickr page:

Compiled by NASA Goddard scientist Norman Kuring, this image has the perspective of a viewer looking down from 7,918 miles (about 12,742 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface from a viewpoint of 10 degrees South by 45 degrees East. The four vertical lines of ‘haze’ visible in this image shows the reflection of sunlight off the ocean, or ‘glint,’ that VIIRS captured as it orbited the globe. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.

Last week’s “Blue Marble” image is now one of the most-viewed images of all time on Flickr, receiving nearly 3.2 million views!

See the previously released image here.

NASA launched the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (or NPP) on October 28, 2011 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. On Jan. 24, NPP was renamed Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP, in honor of the late Verner E. Suomi. It’s the first satellite designed to collect data to improve short-term weather forecasts and increase understanding of long-term climate change.

Image credit: NASA/NOAA

Added: check out a “zoomified” version of this image on John Williams’ StarryCritters site.



A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Anonymous February 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM

On the last pic a number of Europeans made comments because Europe was not pictured. My guess is this new pic won’t appease them.

Lights in the Dark February 3, 2012 at 2:34 AM

This should make all the Madagascarians happy anyway…

Daniel Wybrow February 3, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Why? Because its obscured by a tropical cyclone :-)

Eben Bosman February 3, 2012 at 6:04 AM

What are those dull vertical lines on the photo?

Anonymous February 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Do you mean the whitish longitudinal banding? Probably artifacts caused by the way the images were stitched together.

Anonymous February 3, 2012 at 3:24 PM

According to the Bad Astronomer the white bands are reflections of the water captured by the satellite as it flew over. It tells you that it took several orbits to make the entire picture.

Eben Bosman February 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Nice! Thanks, now I’m also in the know :)

Baksa Péter February 3, 2012 at 6:57 AM

Picture covers about 33% of Earth’s surface if I compute it right.

Anonymous February 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

That’s probably about right, and I would guess the previous image covered even less.

Order Taking Service February 14, 2012 at 9:18 AM

That’s very clear view of the earth from the surface by the latest technology.

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