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I find satellite pictures of the Earth very strange. They tend to look like abstract art to me and I find that quite strange too. And yet both can be oddly compelling.


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I guess so many planets are barren. They are colorful and full of craters and mountains but Earth is beautiful. We are so blessed and so many are unappreciative.

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The Eye of Africa taken by astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Simply stunning - and you can enlarge the image too. Wow!

The “eye of Africa” in the Sahara desert, Mauritania. It has a diameter of almost 50 kilometres and has been a landmark for astronauts for a long time. It was originally thought to be a meteorite impact crater but know scientists think it was caused by erosion.


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The city of Seville is on the right hand side of this satellite view of the Province of Seville. The Guadalquivir river flows through it – you can see the original course of the river and to the left where it runs now. Its fertile valley with agricultural structures is prominent in the upper right.

The white feature in the upper-central part of the image is an open-pit copper mine. To the west of it are two other open-pit mines – they're filled with water. This is not what you'd call an environmental asset, but look to the south at two circular structures a bit similar to clamshells. They're large solar power plants. Mirrored panels are positioned to face a solar power tower -sitting at the southernmost tip of the structures seen here - which receives the focused sunlight and acts as a furnace to produce energy.

Credit: ESA, Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite on 26 July 2016.


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Can you believe that this is a photograph? It was taken by the ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite over northwestern China. The mountains are part of Tian Shan range, which stretches about 2800 km across this region that borders Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, making it one of the longest mountain ranges in Central Asia. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

Admittedly, it is a false-color image, and there's an important reason for this. They're monitoring the glaciers because they are a key indicator of climate change, and their melting poses threats to communities living downstream. Snow and clouds are both white – had this image been in true color, we wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the two. In this image, clouds are white while snow appears blue.


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Lot's of snow/glaciers - how does it compare to earlier photos?

Climate has bee changing forever - there was once a glacier as far south as central US and it has been receding. We visited boulder lake in Pennsylvania - glacier left a lake of boulders as it receded. Nature is unbelievable.

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Any ideas about what this European Space Agency photo is showing? It was taken 430 miles up by the French Pleiades satellite. (I admit that except for it's probably polar, Siberian, or something similar, I didn't get it.)

It is Antarctica, so no surprise there. But what's that dark streak? It's a supply caravan headed for the Concordia research station. The supplies are loaded on skis and pulled by a tractor. It's the best way of getting them there. The convoy is 1000 feet long and it takes ten days to get from the coastal outpost of Dumont d'Urville to the research station.


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This isn't a strange abstract cartoon. You're looking straight down into an active volcano. Fortunately, the photo was taken from orbit which is a safe distance away. It's Mauna Loa in Hawaii, and you can see snow on the top and lava-flow patterns on the slopes.


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Cool picture.

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This is the Great Barrier Reef from the International Space Station.

It looks to me like a piece of pottery with a beautiful turquoise glaze has been broken.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet says "another natural jewel that we must protect".

Credits: ESA/NASA


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