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Blue Marble: NASA releases hi-res image of Earth's B-side

As a followup to last week's wildly popular shot of our planet's Western Hemisphere, NASA has now released the flipside (which just might turn out to be the more popular track in the long run). 

By Jason MajorUniverse Today / February 3, 2012

This composite image of the Earth's Eastern Hemisphere was taken on Jan. 4 by NASA's Suomi NPP satellite.

NASA/NOAA

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In response to last week’s incredibly popular “Blue Marble” image, NASA and NOAA have released a companion version, this one showing part of our planet’s eastern hemisphere.

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The image is a composite, made from six separate high-resolution scans taken on January 23 by NASA’s recently-renamed Suomi NPP satellite. 

From the description on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Flickr page:

Compiled by NASA Goddard scientist Norman Kuring, this image has the perspective of a viewer looking down from 7,918 miles (about 12,742 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface from a viewpoint of 10 degrees South by 45 degrees East. The four vertical lines of ‘haze’ visible in this image shows the reflection of sunlight off the ocean, or ‘glint,’ that VIIRS captured as it orbited the globe. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.

Last week’s “Blue Marble” image is now one of the most-viewed images of all time on Flickr, receiving nearly 3.2 million views!

See the previously released image here.

NASA launched the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (or NPP) on October 28, 2011 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. On Jan. 24, NPP was renamed Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP, in honor of the late Verner E. Suomi. It’s the first satellite designed to collect data to improve short-term weather forecasts and increase understanding of long-term climate change.

Added: check out a “zoomified” version of this image on John Williams’ StarryCritters site.

This post originally ran in Universe Today.

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