NASA's night vision
NASA has released new, spectacular images of our planet at night, captured by the Suomi NPP satellite.
NASA experts have revealed a hive of activity in rural Western Australia using brand new technology to capture the twinkling lights of the global night sky.
An unprecedented glimpse of our planet at night - and the light emissions from both natural and human phenomena - has been collected through composite images taken by the NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite.
While Australia's major cities are predictably on par with light pollution in major population hubs across the world, WA's rural regions are surprisingly lit up.
NASA's Earth Observatory editor Mike Carlowicz said that away from cities, some of the lights picked-up by the satellite in WA are likely to be bushfires.
"Away from the cities, some of the night light observed by Suomi NPP is wildfire; in other places, fishing boats, oil and gas drilling, lightning, and even remote mining operations can show up as points of light.
"Such lights are particularly visible in central and Western Australia." he said.
The new image of the earth at night was assembled from data acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012.
Mr Carlowicz said this means fires and other lighting could have been detected and integrated into the larger picture even though they were temporary.
"The last thing I would say, which one of the scientists also suggested, is that this is the beauty of the images," he said.
"It's easy for people to say 'hey, there's nothing out there'. But the satellite says there is, so now we should all go take a look at what we have been overlooking".