Celebrating the Spring Holidays

NASA | NASA Sees Holiday Lights from Space

NASA | NASA Sees Holiday Lights from Space

[music] Narrator: When seen from the ground holiday lights give us cheer and help us celebrate the season. But from space, over time, they can tell us something about both culture and energy usage. Three years ago a new satellite called Suomi NPP began to give us brilliant new views of the Earth by day and by night. But as stunning as it is to see Earth all aglow, this is still just one composite image averaging observations over a period of months. Getting the big picture from space is always helpful, but we can learn even more seeing that picture change over time. A NASA-lead team of researchers has been pouring over the data from NPP and compensating for factors like the reflection of the moon and the effect terrain, clouds, aerosols, to produce a scientifically-valuable measuring Earth’s lights on a daily basis. The first thing they noticed in the data was the effect of holidays. Román:When we started looking at the data at night over the we were expecting to see a lot of stability in the night time lights. And we were really surprised to see this really vibrant increase in activity during the holidays particularly around areas in the suburbs.You have a lot of single-family homes with a lot of yard space to put in lights. Narrator:Comparing the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years to the rest of the year, the team noticed large areas where night lights were 20, 30, even 50 percent brighter over the holidays, as shown here in shades of green. Román:And so what we are seeing is this shift in location in activity where people are staying in their homes and they’re celebrating, or they’re traveling to the rural areas and they’re celebrating … and they’re turning on the lights . Whereas in the urban centers people are turning off the lights because they’re going off for the holidays. Narrator: Researchers actually first saw changes in holiday lighting patterns during Ramadan in the Middle East. Román:In contrast to the western holidays of Christmas and New Years, during Ramadan you don’t see a shift in activity in location. What you’re seeing is that communities are staying where they are, and they’re shifting their activities to the nighttime. Another thing that the … measurements are telling us is that it’s capturing cultural differences even within a single community like the Muslim community during the month of Ramadan. We’re seeing patterns in behavior that varies significantly from country to country, a smaller increase in nighttime lights in Turkey, large increase of nighttime lights in Saudi Arabia, no increase in nighttime lights in Israel because it’s not a predominantly Muslim country. So it’s a lot of diversity seen within the data. Narrator:Because the night light data has such good resolution, researchers from Yale University have even been looking at neighborhoods within cities, and correlating that data with known political and socio-economic factors. But from a NASA perspective, why is it important to concentrate on Earth’s lights from space? Román:A lot of our capability focuses on using satellites to get a global picture of where we are with respect to the environment and with respect to the day-to-day processes processes that drives the earth system. A big component of that is human activity and how they are driving the different processes that impact the earth like carbon emissions and like the heating patterns across cities. So by looking at the lights we can see changes in human behavior throughout the seasons, throughout the days, and we can use that information to then understand what are the norms that are driving the decisions behind energy. If you look at climate change research right now, we know that more than 70 percent of emissions are happening in cities. So NASA is putting a lot of emphasis on understanding cities and understanding the dynamics dynamics of how cities are interacting with the climate and our system as a whole. [music] [music]

Reader Comments

  1. Απίστευτο….αυτό συνδέεται με αυτό που σπούδασα τις κοινωνικές και πολιτικές επιστήμες!!! Απίστευτοοοοο!!!!!

  2. All adds up to 'light-pollution' which blocks our view of the stars!
    It's even becoming difficult to distinquish constellations in the night-sky from where I live in the suburbs!

  3. Who at NASA hired Captain Obvious? They where actually surprised that people decorate their houses with Christmas light during Christmas and that people travel during the holidays? On top of all that, some else said "Let's make a YouTube video about this!"

  4. Oh and one more thing for NASA. Jews don't put up "Holiday" lights so stop trying to be P.C. about it and call them what they are; Christmas lights, damn it!

  5. Wtf is happy holiday? not everyone is Off work @ Christmas, so it is not a holiday for some, but it is still christmas! If the USA is so set on HAPPY HOLIDAY, then maybe everyone should be on a break?
    Perhaps the government has changed it to not upset people? Also perhaps it is in preparation for the USA becoming an Islamic state!
    They don't like Christmas!!!!!

  6. BS! Most people have no idea what a Holiday (Holy Day) is. Times of today it's either festival or traditional nothing more than pagans doing their thing. Ask a kid who Jesus the Christ is and look at tbeir puzzled faces, but then again same thing happens when who Adolf Hitler was, lol, what a world we live and die in.
    Evolution vs God, now available via YouTube by Ray Comfort. Now thats something!

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