NASA Reveals Stunning Nighttime Views of Earth [PHOTOS]

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | December 6, 2012 9:43 AM EST

NASA has released a series of images that give a spectacular view of the Earth at night, illuminated by the lights visible from space.

The images, captured by a NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  satellite give a clear view of such terrestrial lights as cities, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.

According to the AP, even lights from fishing boats can be pin-pointed among the glitter.

One image of the United States shows the East Coast fully illuminated, with lights becoming sparser further westward.

An image of the Nile River, captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi NPP satellite gives a glittering view of the waterway.

Another image shows the expanse of the Earth, and how light seems to vaguely scatter the planet overall, despite being extremely concentrated in some areas.

"For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night," said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA's Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere on NASA’s website.

"Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps."

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