Dubbed “Black Marble”, the collection of images you are looking at were taken by the Suomi satellite, a project of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The bright lights in the image are actually captures of human activity during the night. The satellite took a series of pictures while adjusting the exposure to limit the lighting. As a result, the brighter pixels are not overly saturated while the dimmer pixels are nowhere to be seen.
Scientists will use these images to study patterns in human activity while light pollution experts will determine the locations that are the least power-smart.
For more photos in high quality, visit NASA’S Flickr Page