back to article New Earth-observing satellite snaps 'blue marble' shot

The newly renamed Suomi NPP satellite has snapped a hi-res composite of the Earth from a number of swaths over the surface taken on 4 January. Image of Earth from the Suomi NPP Image of Earth from the Suomi NPP. Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental …


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  1. scarshapedstar


    You can totally see the Lake Pontrchartrain Causeway on the 8000x8000 version. Suck on that, Great Wall!

  2. Northern Fop

    I can see my house!

    Not really.

  3. zedee
    Thumb Down

    Terribly distorted

    More like "photo of a small portion of one hemisphere made to look passibly full-hemispheric".

    It's like they used a fish-eye 'lens'.

    Poorly faked, they think would anyone really believe Mexico takes up that much area of a hemisphere?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      It's a wide-angle lens attempting to capture the entire hemisphere from a relatively low orbit, of course it looks distorted.


      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Idiot

        I wouldn't be so quick on the abuse button. It's a composite image, they can simulate any perspective they like.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The satellite in question is not using a wide-angle lens.

        It's a relatively narrow angle lens that only captures a small amount at a time, and they've then used an unsual projection to map the resulting texture onto a globe, and faked an atmosphere at the edges too.

    2. DJ

      Not of all of it, son...

      ...a goodly-sized portion of that would be Texas.

  4. Red Sceptic

    Nice picture, but ...

    ... to echo the comment by "Compound Eye" on Flickr:

    It'd be nice if you had an image with the US, Europe, Asia going left to right - that way, even allowing for curvature, far more people would be able to gain a sense of enjoyment / pride from what they saw... There are other countries in the World besides the USA, not that the 96% of Americans without passports would care.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, let's see

      Well, let's see. This was taken by NASA - the (United States of America) National Atmospheric and Space Administration.

      I'm sure that has the European Space Administration taken a picture of Europe, and had an American raised a fuss, he'd have been voted down.

      But since this is the American Space Administration taking a picture of North America, and a (presumably) European is complaining, that's worth upvoting.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        @David D. Hagood - Well, let's see

        While I respect your point re. N.A.S.A. - I still want to see a pic of Europe dammit.

        It is tiring for those of us who don't live in North America (which is most of the planet's population) to find that most of the planetary imagery, art and not just photos is centred on North America.

        Damn nice piccie though. Nice place. Let's live there :)

        1. jake Silver badge

          That ain't the United States.

          Near as I can tell, it's centered on the North East corner of Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato ... That's Mexico. North America, yes[1]. US, not so much.

          [1] Some folks place Mexico in Latin America, but I consider Latin America a false construct when discussing geological features.

      2. My Screen Name

        Aeronautics not Atmospheric

        NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I think you've crossed it with NOAA, which is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    2. bigphil9009

      World Citizens

      Or we could all just be proud to be Earthians...

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "Or we could all just be proud to be Earthians..."

        I wonder what the orforities would do if I claimed I was Terran?

    3. Code Monkey

      "96% of Americans without passports"

      It's more like 63% but your point is valid.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    Rather a nice looking place, that we call home.

  6. Andus McCoatover


    Odd. Suomi is Finnish for Finland

    Don't think Finland's got anyone up there. (Except Elop, who seems to have his head 'up there' looking for the curry he had last night...)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, I was about to post, "Verner E. Finland?"

      )Preface: I'm American) Back in 1997, when I was a wee lad, I worked at Kinko's a copy shop. Some guy came in and needed to print some copies of his CV, which I duly did. His last name was 'Mielty', which struck me as rather Finnish sounding - I hung out with a lot of Finnish / other-Scandinavian guys on IRC at the time.

      So, as I was checking him out, I randomly said, "Suomi on paskaa!", one of the phrases the Finns had been teaching me. I knew what it meant, but figured there was no way some random dude in upstate New York would as well.

      It means (minor grammar errors ignored): "Finland is shit!"

      The guy looked shocked - and I suddenly started considering printing copies of my own resume - and then, a huge smile spreading across his face, he exclaimed, "YOU KNOW FINNISH!!!!!??"

      Turns out he was so happy that anyone here even knew of Finland at all that he didn't care what I actually said. Unfortunately, that, some other extremely obscene invective, and "My hovercraft is full of eels" were the only things I knew. But I ended up chatting for a while about Finland with a very happy customer.

      Vittu soppa, perrrrkele pillun!

      ...and that without Google translate. I'm rusty. I'm sure it's absurd.

      1. Anna Logg

        suomi indeed

        Many moons ago I worked for a certain Finnish (well it was then) telecoms company, I needed some cable ties, at that time the parts system was still in Finnish, so I asked one of my Finnish comrades what cable ties was in Finnish. He scrawls a word down on a post-it note, I dutifully enter it into the parts system, no results. I check my spelling with a couple of other Finns, they just laugh.

        Turns out my comrade from the North had actually written down the word for pubic hair; who says Finns don't have a sense of humour ;-)

        P.S. cable tie in Finnish is nippuside just in case anyone needs to know.

        pubic hair / ladygarden is pillunkarva

      2. Sweaty Hambeast

        Many years ago...

        ...IBM had just started NLS on it's programs. We'd grabbed a copy of DW/370 and installed it for the customers (bureau, int'l custs) and were wondering whether it worked or not.

        Obviously we typed in the appropriate SET LANG command and ended up in Finnish.

        The problem was, the only way back was to type the appropriate SET LANG command to get back to English and we didn't know Finnish!

        Luckily for us we had an option to show the commands via a menu. Cue trial and error and a report to the usability lab...

    2. MrT
      Thumb Up

      Ahh... that's what that option is on a DVD language menu...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, don't select it. You'll end up with a screen full of Ps, Js, Ks, Is, and Ls, and it'll never work again. IIRC there are a number of letters missing in the Finnish alphabet, and they appear to have compensated by substituting the aforementioned letters.

        Finnish, by the way, is one of those weird-ass languages that isn't part of a 'normal' branch; it's not really comparable to anything else, and therefore is a bitch and a half to learn. Couple that with the fact that Finns speak like their mouths are full of thumb tacks, express no emotion, consider downing a bottle of vodka in one go to be the *start* of a drinking contest, and add Finland's hair-shattering cold, extreme, apparently-genetically-imbued xenophobia, and you have some of the reasons I didn't pursue an informal job offer over there 15 years ago or so. It was with Remedy - and despite their subsequent success, I don't regret my decision.

        But I still, for some stupid reason or another, really like Finland.

        :| for my Finnish friends on IRC, for whom it is the default emoticon.

        1. Fred M

          @David W.

          Fascinating story there, David W. I was just waiting for the point to it and then suddenly ...Bam! It ended.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            @Fred M

            I'm glad it stirred you enough to provoke a reply.

        2. Andus McCoatover

          Finnish emotions...

          Funny, but - not entirely true. I know Finns who laugh out loud at Benny Hil...and weep when their Friday bottle of Koskenkorva ("Finnish white wine", basically vodka) falls off the shelf and smashes. Of course, these are exceptional events....

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @David W.

          The Finnish alphabet isn't missing any letters. It's the same as the Swedish alphabet, and by extension the Norwegian and Danish bar their versions of ä and ö.

          English, by the way, is one of those weird-ass languages that eschews the use of rules or logic particularly when it comes to spelling. I surmise it's for that reason they've given up teaching grammar, and also the reason why Britain and the USA are some of the few nations in the world where a large portion of the people are unable to write their mothertongue correctly.

          Many Brits speak like they are hanging by their nostrils. They also aspire to abandon their children in boarding schools at a young age if they have the means to do so. Following this their kids grow up emotionally stunted and unable to express emotions. Couple that with the fact that homes in the UK are cold and drafty inside, and hot water is strictly rationed to certain times of the day, I don't regret my decision to leave that shithole.

          For some stupid reason I still like Brits and the English language.

          1. Boothy

            @AC 12:28

            Quote: "Couple that with the fact that homes in the UK are cold and drafty inside, and hot water is strictly rationed to certain times of the day"

            I'm guessing you never lived in a house built after the 30's then? Which is probably most of them now,. Plus the strict rules on insulation etc. that's been introduced since then mean all modern homes (anything built in the last 30-40 years) are usually very warm and draft free.

            Why on earth would hot water be linked to certain times of the day? Hot water for most people is on-tap, due to the use of combi-boilers. A few places use storage heaters, but these are usually linked to solar heating arrays on the roof nowadays.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              Ooh, looks like Brits don't have a sense of humour either. How now?

              Did you ever look out of an airplane window over an English town? I'd love to see your modern energy efficient dwellings, but all I ever saw was endless row after row of drab terraced houses.

              Ah, luxurious life in England ...

              * Power showers (i.e loud piss warm drizzle)

              * Gas heaters

              * Sash windows (what energy savers!)

              * Those quaint twin taps that both emit cold water (I've been meaning to petition the UN to start Mixer Tap Aid for the UK)

              * Yawning gaps under front doors ... covered with a brush (not kidding, search for door brush)

              * PVC windows

              Remember to fill your hot water bottle luv, and don't let your electric blanket catch fire.

        5. Sweaty Hambeast

          I was told...

          > Finnish, by the way, is one of those weird-ass languages that isn't part of a 'normal' branch; it's not really comparable to anything else,

          I was told by one of the really good guys on the Int'l helpdesk that Finnish, whilst being really weird, was close to Hungarian. Anyone got an idea of this is true?

          1. Anna Logg

            Yeah, several Finns pointed out some degree of commonality with Hungarian, so I think it is true. Having lived in Finland for a few months it's a bad ass language to try and guess the meaning of words, for sure - other than those they've just imported from English and added a vowel on the end. Back to the Nokia parts database!

            induktanssi = inductor - not difficult to guess

            kondensaattori = condenser = capacitor - not difficult to guess

            Vastus = resistor - no chance!

            1. Anonymous Coward

              @Anna Logg re: word origins

              I have read - although it seems far too good to be true - that the Finnish word for 'frustration' literally means, 'to want sex and not be able to get it'.

              I mean, if anyone would do that, it'd be Finns...

              Nahh... can't be.

              It does make me wonder if 'fun' in Finnish really is the word for 'alcohol', though.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @David W. Alcohol consumption

                UK 13.37 liters per capita

                Finland 12.52 liters per capita


              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


    3. MacroRodent

      He had Finnish roots

      Wikipedia notes that "Suomi was born in Eveleth, Minnesota to John and Anna Suomi. His parents arrived in the US in 1902 from Finland.". Many of the Finns that emigrated to US went to Minnesota.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why North America ?

    Does anywhere else merit a photo?

    1. Lord Midas
      Big Brother


      I was just about to say, Planet Earth looks a lot like the USA

  8. ravenviz Silver badge

    Great resolution on the 16Meg version

    I can see your Mum

  9. b166er

    Who is this National Atmospheric and Space Administration of which you speak?

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Or what?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Europe please!

    Asia please!

    1. 0_Flybert_0

      we have same images of Europe and Asia

      here's the deal:

      Europeans charge for stuff like tidal data .. you can have the pics of your part of the world at $150 USD per 24"x24" print

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notice anything about the U.S.?

    Rather brown instead of green. Been a VERY dry winter in many parts

    1. Gary B.

      When was the picture taken?

      Yes, shocking that most of the mid-west and Rockies is barren in the middle of January, isn't it?

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Antony Riley
      Thumb Down


      Wonder why the call it polar-orbiting then? Reading the article ftw.

  13. Notas Badoff

    Keep your shorts on...

    "This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012."

    Swathing technique illustrated for 'whole' earth:

    I'm sure Europe will come soon.

    Used to work with a guy named Matti. Everybody worked in a large common cubicle farm. He had his own closed-off office partitioned out of that area. It was 'safer' that way. Asked me to get a libretto of a Chilean opera as my wife had access to inter-library loan. Of course I said "sure!". It was 'safer' that way....

    Finns are fine by me!

  14. Wombling_Free

    Well, it's a picture of PART of the Earth at least.

    Hardly a Blue Marble shot though... and the typical 'America is the only continent' shot. Grudgingly allowable I suppose, as they launched it.

  15. James Pickett

    the 16Meg version

    I make it 64...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In space, nobody can hear you...

    ... scream "Say cheese!"

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that we've got the backside....

    when do we get the face?

  18. Paul 135

    AMERIKKA FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ...Coverin' the whole mutha-f*kin' planet yeah!!!!

  19. earl grey

    Too bad

    they didn't honor him when he was still alive to enjoy it...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think I can make out Moosejaw Creek, Arkansas.

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