Holiday lights revealed by NASA

Posted Dec 25, 2014 by Tim Sandle
The NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, has allowed NASA to identify how patterns in nighttime light intensity change during major holiday seasons.
Image of Christmas lights in Northern Europe
Image of Christmas lights in Northern Europe
The NASA images focus on Christmas and New Year's in the U.S. and the holy month of Ramadan in the Middle East, as representative areas. This interesting video reveals more:
In summary, the captured information reveals that with each of the major U.S. cities, nighttime lights shine 20 to 50 percent brighter during Christmas and New Year's when compared to standard light output during the rest of the year. The lights started getting brighter on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving.
Similarly, with many Middle Eastern cities, nighttime lights shine more than 50 percent brighter during Ramadan, compared to the rest of the year.
The information came from a satellite called Suomi NPP. This is a joint NASA/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mission. For most of the year, the satellite functions as a weather station. The remit is to collect data on both long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions. The satellite was launched from Space Launch Complex 2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by a United Launch Alliance Delta II 7920-10C on October 28, 2011.
The satellite carries a sophisticated item of technology called the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS can observe the dark side of the planet and detect the glow of lights in cities and towns worldwide. VIIRS is a scanning radiometer which collects imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans in the visible and infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.
There is a one limitation with the technology: snow. This is because snow reflects so much light, the researchers could only analyze snow-free cities.