NASA/NOAA as been showing off just what can be achieved with their Suomi/NPP spacecraft and its VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) which can take very low light images. In this case this was used to take the Earth from the darkside. The image easily displays the illumated towns in populated areas. The image below is courtesy NASA/NOAA. A movie of the rotating Earth which looks like a "black marble" with small lights, is available here.