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.”