By Claire

NASA has just released a series of images taken by one of NASA’s satellites of the Earth at night.

The images show a network of city lights, wild fires, gas flares and fishing boats, illustrating the pattern of human settlement across the Earth.

The images were taken using the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea. These images have been stitched together to produce a composite image of the planet, titled “The Black Marble“.

See the full suite of images here.