64MP image of earth shot by NASA

NASA Earth Picture
A 64 million pixel picture of Earth has been displayed by NASA

NASA has unveiled a 64 million pixel image of the earth, taken from one of its satellites in January.

The image is actually a composite image made up of a number of photos of the Earth's surface shot on January 4, 2012.

Measuring 8000 x 8000 pixels, the image comes from the Suomi NPP satellite, which is the first in a new generation of satellites to observe the different aspects of a changing earth.

On board it carries several instruments for observing the globe, of which the biggest and most important is the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS for short.


Sitting 514 miles above the surface of the earth, it is able to get a complete view of the planet every day. The first image that was released showed the entire globe in one composite shot and was released back in November 2011.

VIIRS is capable of imaging the surface of the earth in long wedges which measure approx. 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) across.

The latest image, named "Blue Marble" by NASA, instead shows a section of the globe containing North America.

The VIIRS satellite sees the Earth at around 250 metres per pixel, and will be used to record a variety of things such as ocean temperature, clouds, and the location of fires.

NASA uploaded the shot to its Flickr stream on January 25th, where it has been viewed more than 1.3 million times since.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.