A nighttime image of London and the southern part of Great Britain taken on March 27, 2012, shows some of the other sites where Olympic events will be held. The image was taken by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite with a day-night band that uses light intensification to enable the detection of dim signals.
Lee Valley White Water Center, indicated on the image, will be the site of canoeing; Portland Harbour will be the home of sailing; Eton Dorney will host rowing and canoeing; and Hadleigh Farm will be the location for cycling and mountain biking events.
Nighttime images such as this are especially useful to scientists because they reveal the presence and magnitude of human activities and the density of development, said Chris Elvidge of NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center. "We can actually look at cities and tell you how much energy is emanating from them, something pretty useful for energy consumption studies."
The images can also be used to choose sites for astronomical observatories, study the impact of nocturnal lighting, and monitor power outages and other natural disasters.