A new source for high spatial resolution night time images - The EROS-B commercial satellite

Noam Levin*, Kasper Johansen, Jorg M. Hacker, Stuart Phinn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


City lights present one of humankind's most unique footprints on Earth as seen from space. Resulting light pollution from artificial lights obscures the night sky for astronomy and has negative impacts on biodiversity as well as on human health. However, remote sensing studies of night lights to date have been mostly limited to coarse spatial resolution sensors such as the DMSP-OLS. Here we present a new source for high spatial resolution mapping of night lights from space, derived from a commercial satellite. We tasked the Israeli EROS-B satellite to acquire two night-time light images (at a spatial resolution of 1. m) of Brisbane, Australia, and analyzed their radiometric quality and content with respect to land cover and land use. The spatial distribution of night lights as imaged by EROS-B corresponded with night-time images acquired by an airborne camera, although EROS-B was not as sensitive to low light levels. Using land cover and land use data at the statistical local area level, we could statistically explain 89% of the variability in night-time lights. Arterial roads and commercial and service areas were found to be some of the brightest land use types. Overall, we found that EROS-B imagery provides fine spatial resolution images of night lights, opening new avenues for studying light pollution in cities worldwide.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • EROS-B
  • Fine spatial resolution
  • Land cover
  • Land use
  • Night lights


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