NASA has just released another image of the “Blue Marble.” This time, the Suomi NPP Earth-observing-satellite captured a composite image of the Eastern hemisphere. The original “Blue Marble” photo, which was released last month, has already been seen more than 3.1 million times making it one of the most viewed photo on Flickr.
“The western hemisphere Blue Marble 2012 image has rocketed up to over 3.1 milling views making it one of the all time most viewed images on the site after only one week.”
NASA’s Suomi NPP, named to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin, is NASA’s next generation of earth-observing-satellites. It carries five instruments on board, the most important of which is the Visible / Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS.
NASA explains that the new “blue marble” photo is a composite of six separate orbits around the earth. The images were created by the VIIRS and compiled by NASA Goddard scientist Norman Kuring.
NASA explains the technique, saying:
“NASA scientists created the two new ‘Blue Marble’ images from data acquired by a new instrument that’s aboard the Earth-observing satellite Suomi NPP, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The Suomi NPP satellite is in a polar orbit around Earth at an altitude of 512 miles (about 824 kilometers), but the perspective of the new Eastern hemisphere ‘Blue Marble’ is from 7,918 miles (about 12,743 kilometers). NASA scientist Norman Kuring managed to ‘step back’ from Earth to get the big picture by combining data from six different orbits of the Suomi NPP satellite. Or putting it a different way, the satellite flew above this area of Earth six times over an eight hour time period. Norman took those six sets of data and combined them into one image.”
The western hemisphere blue marble photo, which now has more than 3.4 million views, was created with the same technique.