However, there is only one satellite that images the entire Earth each night, and it's just barely sensitive enough to see this. For example, here is what a portion of the South Island of New Zealand looks like when the data from all the clear moon-free nights of October 2017 is averaged together:
|This work by Christopher Kyba is licensed under a|
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
You can see the mountain ranges, and you can just barely see the separation between land and water. But the more data you add, the more the signal comes out from the noise. My colleague Helga Kuechly produced this image by combining the seven October moon-free composite images from the years 2012-2018:
|"Aotearoa by starlight" by Helga Kuechly is licensed under|
a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
In addition to making a stunning image, it demonstrates that if we continue to work on increasing the sensitivity of night observing satellites, it is possible to extend traditional visible band remote sensing even to nights without moonlight!