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A View of Darkness Over East Coast from Space

Nov 02, 2012 08:25 AM EDT
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The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) has captured the night-time view of some of the East Coast areas to reveal the extent of power outage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy made its landfall on the coast of New Jersey during the night of Oct. 29. It caused extensive damage to the East Coast, killing more than 70 people and causing damage to property.

At least eight million people were left without electricity from Maine to South Carolina, and as far west as Ohio. New York City and northeastern New Jersey are the worst affected areas.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite took the night-time view of the Mid-Atlantic areas including New York City, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, on the morning of Nov.1. The satellite images show the areas where power has currently not been restored.

To understand the extent of power outage caused by Sandy, scientists compared an image taken on October 21, 2012, with that of the image taken on Nov.1 by a "day-night band." The Oct. 21 image shows much brighter New York City and eastern New Jersey. The images also show power outages in Philadelphia area, according to a NASA report.

Routes 444 and 18 that start near New Brunswick and extend southeast to the New Jersey shoreline appear dark in the Nov. 1 image.

The Suomi NPP mission is a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Defense. It was launched in October 2011 to orbit the Earth and send images, data and measurements on the climate and weather systems.

The satellite is orbiting about 512 miles above the Earth's surface in a polar orbit. It observes the Earth's surface two times (once in daylight and once at night) every day, while orbiting the planet 14 times a day.

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