NASA and NOAA have a new, fancy satellite that’s equipped to look at the planet at night, as opposed to during the day, like most of their satellites. There are plenty of scientific reasons for having this capability, but it’s also allowed NASA to put together these amazing composite pictures, drawn from images collected on cloud-free nights, which show “the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before,” NASA says.

Here’s the planet, with India and Australia facing outward:

inida nasa


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And you can zoom into countries:

And even smaller areas. Here’s the Nile:

nile nasa

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On one level, these pictures are beautiful. But they’re also evidence of the light pollution humans are spreading over the entire surface of the Earth. It’s not an innocuous light show: It has real impacts on people and on wildlife.

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