New tools are giving us insights into cultural behaviors and energy consumption across the world.
Holiday lights are so bright, they can be seen from space thanks to instruments like the VIIRS and the Suomi NPP satellite. In a joint project between NASA and NOAA, scientists are studying the data involved holiday lights, both during Christmas and the month of Ramadan. The new tools provide insights into cultural behaviors and energy consumption across different parts of the world. Because snow reflects so much light, the researchers could only analyze snow-free cities so they focused on the west coast of the United States and cities south of a rough imaginary line from St. Louis to Washington, D.C.