In 2005 NASA created the 'Blue Marble: Next Generation', a composite of images from several satellites showing the land, sea, cloud cover and night-time lights of our planet. This view is centred on the North Atlantic Ocean, with the Americas to the left and Europe and Africa to the right where the shadow of night is punctuated by city lights. Seen from space, the defining feature of our planet is its blue colour.

Credit: Image created by Reto Stöckli for the NASA GSFC Earth Observatory.

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