Thank you, NASA, for once again providing really beautiful imagery.
Fresh off the boat off the orbiting device*, a gorgeous ‘blue marble’ photograph of the little planet upon the surface of which we sail through our ever-expanding universe**.
As NASA says:
This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed ‘Suomi NPP’ on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.
And yes, to those of you who point out that this is a puny 64 megapixel image – we do, indeed, have gigapixel images. Being used, if nothing else, for crowd surveillance (oh, goody) as well as nature/landscape/cityscape photography. But that doesn’t detract at all, in my opinion, from the beauty of _this_ image.
And, for those interested, here’s a 26 gigapixel image. Enjoy :)
Related note: hooray to NASA for releasing work like this under a Creative Commons license! Well done, guys – you’re on the Light side of the Force :)
* The VIIRS instrument aboard Suomi NPP, which is NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite. The satellite’s purpose is to collect data for improving our understanding of both short-term weather and long-term climactic change, amongst other things, and the VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite) is the ‘biggest and most important’ of the five instruments aboard.
** Yup, it’s not, as some of you have already surmised, this.