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North and South America City Lights

Target Name:  Earth
Produced by:  Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright: © 2006 Calvin J. Hamilton
Date Released: 23 March 2006
(Publisher Permission Request)

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NameTypeWidth x HeightSize
VSS00011.jpgJPEG800 x 82847K
VSS00011.jpgJPEG2000 x 2070232K
VSS00011.jpgJPEG4400 x 4554849K

This image of North and South America city lights was created with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS). Originally designed to view clouds by moonlight, the OLS is also used to map the locations of permanent lights on the Earth's surface.

The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated. Cities tend to grow along coastlines and transportation networks. Even without the underlying map, the outlines of the continents are still be visible. The United States interstate highway system appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centers.

See also the rotating Earth animation VSS00012.

Copyright © 1995-2013 by Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.