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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 01/26/2012

What a wonderful world, the Earth in high definition (Blue marble NASA image)

Feast your eyes on it: NASA released one of the sharpest, most stunning true-color images of our planet the world has seen Wednesday.


Via NASA: A ‘Blue Marble’ image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite - Suomi NPP. See bigger. (NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring)

Captured on January 4 , this beautiful visual stitches together a number of images from a state-of-the-art NASA satellite’s north-to-south, south-to-north loops from pole to pole.

The satellite, launched on October 28, was previously known as the NPOESS Prepartory Project (NPP). At the American Meteorological Society annual meeting Tuesday, NOAA and NASA renamed it the Suomi NPP satellite, after the late Verner Suomi, a University of Wisconsin professor known as the father of satellite meteorology.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor aboard the satellite recorded the images.

The Suomi NPP carries aboard five instruments that will provide critical data for improving weather forecasts and monitoring our climate.

As pristine and untouched as the Earth appears from the perspective of the Suomi NPP, the animation below is a humbling reminder of man’s influence. It displays 24 hours of air traffic across the globe from satellite. (Hat tip: Dan Satterfield’s Wild Wild Science Journal; note: the dots representing aircraft have been scaled up).

By  |  11:05 AM ET, 01/26/2012

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