NASA unveils gorgeous new "Black Marble" images of Earth at night

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,   |   Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM
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The famous "Blue Marble" image of Earth from space now has a nighttime complement.

New photos, called the "Black Marble" series, were released by NASA and show gorgeous views of Earth at night.

The images are composites of cloud-free images, taken by a satellite launched last October by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The sensor on the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite is sensitive enough to detect the glow produced by the Earth's atmosphere at night.

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The Sun's magnetic field and releases of plasma directly affect Earth and the rest of the solar system. Solar wind shapes the Earth's magnetosphere and magnetic storms are illustrated here as approaching Earth. These storms, which occur frequently, can disrupt communications and navigational equipment, damage satellites, and even cause blackouts. The white lines represent the solar wind; the purple line is the bow shock line; and the blue lines surrounding the Earth represent its protective magnetosphere. The magnetic cloud of plasma can extend to 30 million miles wide by the time it reaches earth. UPI/SOHO/ESA/NASA
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