Lighting Up the Night Sky | VideoEvan Kruegel | 12/17/2012
NASA has released new images from their Suomi NPP satellite, and the Bakken region is impossible to ignore. The satellite captures light pollution images from cities, wildfires, and, in the case of the North Dakota, thousands of individual oil flares. The photos were taken by repeatedly circling the globe and resolving the images as millions of individual pixels.
We showed these pictures to locals today, and the most common response was pure amazement.
"Crazy, very crazy," said one resident.
"It`s crazy, absolutely, for our little small town of Williston to look like that on a map, that`s amazing," said another.
The major cities on the map have visible population centers, with small bands of light moving outward from the middle. The lights in North Dakota have no main center, showing the lack of a major population and the real cause of the light pollution.
"Absolutely that is amazing, look at some of these larger cities and look where we`re at."
The flares end up being brighter than cities like Denver and Minneapolis because the luminous intensity of fire is much higher than city lights, making the light much more visible.
"Last weekend when I was driving home I drove past one and I could actually feel the heat in my car getting warmer, cause its right off the side of the road and it`s probably a 15 or 20 foot flame just going," said a county resident.
The oil industry in the Bakken has amazed people across the entire globe, but now, it appears to be doing the same from space. The satellite images were taken between April and October. More pictures can be seen on NASA`s website at www.nasa.gov.