The Lights of London
The image above shows London and the southern half of Great Britain as it appeared on the night of March 27, 2012. The image was acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP, which includes a “day-night band” similar to images collected by the Operational Linescan System (OLS) flown on U.S. Defense Meterological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites.
The day-night band observes light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared, and uses light intensification to enable the detection of dim signals, according to Chris Elvidge, who leads the Earth Observation Group at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center and works on the VIIRS team.
In the image, the lights in the Irish Sea, the English Channel, and the North Sea are likely a blend of fishing vessels and flares from offshore oil and gas platforms.