A 'Blue Marble' image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA's most recently launched Earth-observing satellite - Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012.
Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS. NPP orbits the earth at 512 miles above the surface. The image is composited from 4 orbits. A map projection algorithm is used to put the VIIRS data in the image. The map projection transformation provides the global look of the image.