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New stunning nighttime views of Earth unveiled

In this image provided by NASA, the United States of America is seen at night from a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012.(AP Photo/NASA)

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Twinkling city lights, raging wildfires and colorful auroras are lit up in new dazzling nighttime views of the Earth.

The new images released Wednesday are courtesy of a newly launched NASA-NOAA satellite that's equipped with a sensor to observe the planet at night.

There's the Nile River bathed in city lights. A map of the United States shows the populated East Coast illuminated. Light from fishing boats can be pinpointed.

The satellite also captured the glow from natural sources including moonlight, northern lights and naturally-occurring fires.

After Superstorm Sandy made landfall in late October, hard-hit New Jersey, lower Manhattan and the Rockaways appeared dark in the satellite images compared with surrounding areas — the result of widespread power outages.

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