Light in the Darkness: New Photos Released of Earth’s Darkside — PICTURES

Dec. 5, 2012, 11:55 a.m.

In the dark of night, there’s al­ways some light. Even without some ar­ti­fi­cial source, nature glows.

The glow — ar­ti­fi­cial and nat­ur­al — can be seen in im­ages from a new satel­lite, re­leased on Wed­nes­day by NASA at the Amer­ic­an Geo­phys­ic­al Uni­on meet­ing in San Fran­cisco.

The NASA-NOAA Suomi Na­tion­al Po­lar-Or­bit­ing Part­ner­ship satel­lite is de­signed to let re­search­ers ob­serve events that had been un­seen or poorly seen by satel­lites de­pend­ent on sun­light. The satel­lite “is sens­it­ive enough to de­tect the noc­turn­al glow pro­duced by Earth’s at­mo­sphere and the light from a single ship in the sea,” ac­cord­ing to NASA.

“The night is nowhere as dark as we might think,” Na­tion­al Ocean­o­graph­ic and At­mo­spher­ic Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­search­er Steve Miller said, ac­cord­ing to a NASA press re­lease. And with the satel­lite, “we don’t have to be in the dark any­more, either.”