NASA satellite images reveal change in China's Hubei amid Coronavirus lockdown

Madhuri Adnal

Washington, Apr 01: NASA Satellite images which was recently published revealed how the nightlife in Hubei province in central China, has changed following the coronavirus related lockdown.

The satellite images from January 19 to February 4, illustrate the difference in the way that people were living and moving before and after the Chinese authorities suspended road, air and rail travel in the area and placed restrictions on other activities.

The first image taken on Jan 19 still shows fairly normal activity, with the areas marked with 'G' and 'S' indicating the busy highways littered with vehicle lights.

The image taken on February 4 shows how highways and metropolitan areas grow dimmer after the lockdown.

Another image shows the pronounced difference in the commercial Jianghan District in Wuhan as well as in the nearby residential areas. The side-by-side image shows how the bright lights that were observed in Jan. 19 were significantly dimmer by Feb. 4.

Miguel Román, director of the Earth from Space Institute at USRA and a principal investigator of the "Black Marble" research team, said,"The lights provide a different perspective on human settlements. We are not just looking at where the roads are; these images are telling us when and if the roads are being used. We are looking at human activities.''

For several years, the group has been building tools and techniques to gather a better, more consistent signal from nighttime images and then using them to examine human-driven patterns.

Nasa said,''These data for the images were acquired with the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite (launched in 2011) and processed by GSFC and USRA scientists.''

VIIRS has a low-light sensor-the day/night band-that measures light emissions and reflections.

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