India Nighttime Lights Imagery – Normal:
India Nighttime Lights
India Nighttime Lights Imagery – Trended and Colored:
India Nighttime Lights - Colored

I have seen a bunch of internet postings sharing a “NASA” satellite image of India “on the night of Diwali”. As nice as it looks, and as viral as it has gotten, this isn’t a picture of India on Diwali night like most people claim it is. As I understand it, this imagery represents the population growth in India via the change in nighttime lights…the different colors you see are showing change in population for images taken in different years (1992 is blue, 1998 is green, 2003 is red, and white lights show nighttime lights that existed during all 3 sampling times).

Following is the link to the NOAA page of the original image:

Part of the glory of this image is that neighboring countries appear to be “dark” compared to India, but as you look at more of NOAA’s nighttime images, you notice other countries, even the United States (as shown below), have similar nighttime lighting imagery.

USA Nighttime Lights Imagery

PS: I was torn about exposing this as I find it truly enamoring that Indians, Americans, and everyone around the world seems to be amazed by this. So let me request that, if you wish, continue to be amazed, even feel free to doubt what I have shown here and continue to believe that this nighttime light satellite imagery is unique only to India and only on the night of Diwali. And all the colors in different regions show how different parts of the country lights their communities with specific colors. Really, I do enjoy the innocence of people enjoying this picture at face value. Sometimes I wish I didn’t research it myself.