NASA's Earth at Night Images Are 'Mind-Boggling'
NASA scientists created the most complete map of Earth at night to date—showing humans in all of their electric glory. But, while the photos are magical, they also show human's extreme effect on the planet.
The map, which shows a nightly Earth as it was in 2016, was made through a composite of images collected from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.
According to NASA, creating a night map is very challenging and can only be updated every four or fives years. One large glowing obstacle is the moon, which can effect the clarity of the night lights depending on where it is positioned during each month of observation. So, the scientists had to gather moonlight-free images and color correct the ones that weren't so it all matched.
The goal of the partnership is to create a real-time night map that shows the earth as it is in any given moment. This will help scientists understand how light evolves throughout a certain period.
"We can monitor cyclical changes driven by reoccurring human activities such as holiday lighting and seasonal migrations," said Miguel Román of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We can also monitor gradual changes driven by urbanization, out-migration, economic changes and electrification. The fact that we can track all these different aspects at the heart of what defines a city is simply mind-boggling."
Electricity has really only taken hold in human life in the past century. So, this map opens a lot of doors for scientists still trying to understand how humans are creating light pollution and the effect it has on natural habitats.
Light is most disruptive to nocturnal wildlife, and can confuse an animal's migratory patterns, affect their ability to compete for and catch prey, and even cause physiological harm. Life depends on the natural fluctuation of light and dark; so disruption to these patterns impacts the ecosystem in a major way.
Now, thanks to NASA, we have a more complete understanding that will help humans and wildlife alike.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget will still be slashed by nearly a third, from $8.2 billion to $5.65 billion, under President Trump's fiscal 2018 budget proposal released Tuesday.
The EPA, which has long been targeted by the Trump administration, is the hardest hit federal agency under the new plan. Opponents say it "endangers Americans" and cripples an institution charged with protecting their health and safety.
Frustrated by non-experts taking to the internet to dispute the science behind human-made climate change, North Carolina meteorologist Greg Fishel issued a challenge to climate deniers, urging them to "put up or shut up" and "submit your work the way real scientists do, and see where it takes you."
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) system leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in two separate incidents in North Dakota in March.
This is the $3.8 billion project's third known leak. The controversial pipeline, which is not yet finished and not yet operational, also spilled 84 gallons of oil in South Dakota on April 4.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration Tuesday to uncover public records showing that federal employees have been censored from using words or phrases related to climate change in formal agency communications.
The news that Fiat-Chrysler is the latest auto-maker caught having massively—and probably illegally—exceeded allowable emission levels for its diesels cars raises a major question: Will this crisis shake Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's long standing bet against history, in particular against the replacement of the internal combustion engine by the electric drive train?
On the eve of World Turtle Day, the world's largest travel website—TripAdvisor—removed the sale of tickets to the Cayman Turtle Centre, where more than 5,000 endangered sea turtles live in horrific conditions.
After numerous legal efforts trying to get a federal district court in Oregon to throw out a climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people, a defeated National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a motion Monday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the litigation.