The World Cup is being hosted by Brazil for the first time since 1950. As shown in the image above, Brazil stretches more than 4,000 kilometers (2500 miles) from north to south and from east to west.

Larger image

Home to roughly 190 million people, Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world by area (8.5 million square kilometers). The coastal cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (second image) highlight the most densely populated part of the country. In 2014, twelve Brazilian cities will host games, including Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Fortaleza, Cuiabá, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Natal, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.

The World Cup is being held for the 20th time since its first installment in 1930. The global tournament has been held every four years, with the only break coming in the days of World War II. The Brazilian national team has been to the final game seven times, winning five, most recently in 2002.

Brazil at Night

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured the images on August 4, 2013. The nighttime view was made possible by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses light intensification to enable the detection of dim signals. The instrument can sense light 100,000 times fainter than conventional visible-light sensors, making it very sensitive to moonlight and city lights.

source earthobservatory