Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/09/14 01:05 PM
I find the sky endlessly fascinating, but only get to see it from underneath. Satellites, of course, have the job of sending useful data, yet the images can also be stunning. And apparently, Earth-watching is a favorite past-time of astronauts on the International Space Station. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this picture a few days ago. Isn't it beautiful? Really, it could be a painting.
Here is another superb image of Earth taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. The Australian Outback was photographed in multicolor glory by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Lava flows from Mt Etna, imaged in February 2013. This is a false color image that's coded to emphasize different features. The red, for example, is fresh lava flow. The blue-green color - fortunately for the people nearby - is just snow. The picture was taken by NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite.
Here is the latest photo from ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst: Dunes in the Sahara Desert. Another great picture from the International Space Station.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Barringer Crater - 06/27/14 05:45 PM
Barringer Crater in Arizona is a pretty big hole in the ground. You can certainly see it from space, as Alexander Gerst tweeted this picture today.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Frozen lake South Dakota - 07/01/14 04:57 PM
This is a strange image. I certainly couldn't have guessed what it is. It's Frozen Lake Sharpe, South Dakota which would be an ox bow lake cut off from the Missouri River, but it's maintained as a reservoir. The circles in the center are agricultural fields. The picture was taken last year from the International Space Station.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy San Francisco Bay Area from space - 07/05/14 05:28 PM
Here is the San Francisco Bay Area from space in a photo taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield when he was on the International Space Station. You can see the Gold Gate Bridge and a few others.
It could be an abstract painting. It could be a Martian landscape. But it's a photo that ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took from the ISS over northern Africa. I'm running out of superlatives to describe the pictures he's tweeting back to Earth.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Napa Valley Earthquake August 2014 - 09/02/14 07:32 AM
This is an unusual view of California's Napa Valley. It's not a photo, but an interferogram gernerated by using two radar images from the Sentinel-1A satellite.

The two round shapes visible in the central part of the image show how the ground moved during the quake. Deformation on the ground appear as rainbow-coloured patterns. The maximum deformation is more than 10 cm, and an area of about 30x30 km was affected significantly.

The image also shows that the fault slip continues further north than is obvious from a surface examination. Sharp lines in the interferogram show minor movements on other faults, such as the part of the West Napa Fault system that crosses Napa airport.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Glow of sunrise over the ocean - 09/06/14 12:12 PM
September 2, 2014. From the International Space Station NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted this wonderful picture of the ocean with the glow of the newly-risen Sun on it. It's quite magical.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Mt Egmont/Mt Taranaki - 11/01/14 06:36 AM
Mount Egmont / Mount Taranaki on New Zealand\s North Island. (It has two names, the second is the traditional Maori one.)

You can easily see the boundary between the protected forest area and the surrounding agricultural land. The mountain's a volcano, though it hasn't erupted for over 150 years. When the peak is covered by clouds and mist, Maori myths say that Taranaki weeps for Pihanga his lost love. The image acquired by Korea's Kompsat-2 satellite.

Great Bahamas Bank. Underwater structures in the Bank are featured in this Landsat-8 satellite image. The Bank is north of Cuba, and is made of limestone. It comes mainly from the skeletal fragments of marine organisms. that has been accumulating for over 100 million years.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Only Florida remained - 01/09/15 12:18 PM
You may not think this satellite image of the eastern two-thirds of the USA is beautiful if you're freezing. If you're in Florida - the only state to be seen - I guess you were pretty grateful! On January 7, everywhere else in the USA beneath the GOES-East satellite was covered in clouds, blanketed by snow and generally VERY cold.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Caspian Sea - 01/17/15 07:00 AM
I never know whether to label some of these images as pictures from space - or art. Here's one of the Caspian Sea and it would grace any art gallery. The Caspian Sea is the biggest landlocked body of water in the world. It's bigger than Germany. It's also suffering from a fair bit of pollution, judging from this picture. Algal blooms are created by excess nutrients in the water - often fertilizers.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Atlanta from the ISS - 01/20/15 05:19 AM
This picture is a day late for Martin Luther King Day. But I hope that yesterday people in the USA at least spent a few moments reflecting on what King had to say to us all. From the current tone of American politics, sadly, such a voice is needed more than ever.

But for the day NASA posted a picture of King's birthplace Atlanta seen from the International Space Station.
Yesterday, January 26, 2015, was the 100th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Expedition 42 flight engineer Terry Virts tweeted this picture from the International Space Station.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Earth from space in high definition - 02/04/15 05:40 AM
Have a look at this wonderful timelapse. It begins by looking down on a brilliant aurora, but takes us across seas, over the clouds, skimming an evocative twilight Earth, over cities at night. Watch it full screen and rejoice in the sublime beauty of our planet. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this wonderful series of high definition images of Earth from the International Space Station.
It's another high definition view of Earth from the International Space Station. The three-minute video was compiled from NASA footage captured during January and February of this year. If you watch full screen, you can almost imagine you're looking out the window down at the Earth.
This image of Super Typhoon Maysak is fascinating from space - but I sure wouldn't want to be down there with it. The typhoon had strengthened into a super typhoon, reaching Category 5 hurricane status. This picture was taken from the International Space Station by ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on March 31, 2015.
Envisat at work. It was looking down on a very verdant-looking Siberia when this image was captured on 2006-08-07.
This is an unusual picture – it's a radar image. You need to look carefully to interpret what's there.

The Mediterranean is easy to pick out, and Barcelona is a major seaport, so you can find it on the right. There is another city centre-left, which is Lleida. To the south of Lleida is part of the Ebro River. The dark water is prominent as dams back up the water flow. It eventually empties into the Mediterranean, but the Ebro Delta isn't in the picture. The rugged-looking area at the top of the image are foothills of the Pyrenees. Blue-green areas on land are cultivated areas.
That is beautiful for sure. It's amazing how thing look from a higher vantage point in space.
This is a very unusual image, called "Moonglint over Italy". The caption said the moonglint is on the water, but there seems to be some cloud there too. It's rather eerie, but intriguing.
That is great Mona! Wow! Love it. I love the eerie stuff.
Here is a picture of the Dead Sea, the lowest elevation on the surface of the Earth. The bit with water looks like a Sapphire jewel amid the dead surroundings. The picture was taken by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
Now here's something you don't see every day, even if you're on the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Terry Virts saw - and photographed - the Great Pyramids of Giza on the very last day of his tour.
ESA's Sentinel-1A Earth-observation satellite captured a radar image of central California. The San Andreas Fault shows up as a nearly straight line. You can see the San Joaquin Valley to the east and the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas beyond that. The valley has been known as one of the most productive regions of the USA, but has been bedeviled by drought in recent years.
ESA's Copernicus programme is developing data sets for Earth monitoring, using their Sentinel satellites. Here is a recent image from Sentinel-2 of Sardinia, Italy. All of the red is surprising for such an agricultural island, but in this false-color image shades of red are showing vegetation.
ESA's Sentinel-1A took this picture of the Antarctic a Peninsula and it's a real beauty. I wondered if it should go on the Heavenly Art page.

You have to remember that the colors aren't what we'd see with our eyes. The Sentinel program is for Earth observation and is acquiring a database of land use. This image is a radar map. Land, ice and water reflect the signal differently and the colors show this.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy EPIC photo of Earth - 07/21/15 07:09 AM
Here's a brand new picture of our home taken from a million miles away. It's from NASA’s new Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) which is positioned at Lagrange point L1. (This is a place where the gravitational pull of Earth and Sun are balanced out.)

The instrument can image in ten channels from the infrared through to ultraviolet. This picture will help to calibrate the instrument to remove some of the blue atmospheric haze – pretty in this picture, but not so good for atmospheric monitoring and providing early warning of geomagnetic storms.
A new image from ESA's Sentinel-1A, one of the Copernicus Earth observation satellites. This is Bavaria in southern Germany. Munich is on the right and you can see the river Isar that runs through it. Augsburg is in the center.

I'm particularly taken with the way the cities and villages look like crystals. But this satellite takes radar images, and the white is the radar reflections from buildings. If you look closely, dotted around Munich you can see little circles of white where the forest has been cleared for villages.

The two large lakes to the south were created by the melting of ice-age glaciers. The landscape across this area was shaped by glaciers.
Greenland glaciers

It looks like a new piece of abstract art, but it's glaciers in western Greenland captured by ESA's Sentinel-2A. Satellite imagery is vital to mapping the rapidly changing face of the Arctic.

Photo released 28/07/2015
Copyright: Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA
At first glance this picture brought to mind pastries. It looked to me like lots of somewhat misshapen croissants. But can you see pastries from space? Probably not. This picture by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is of The Himalayas. It was taken a few days ago from the International Space Station.
What is this unusual-looking bit of contemporary art?

Actually a photo taken of the Bahamas by an astronaut on the ISS. You can see the tidal channels cutting between small island cays – this image covers 14.24 km (8.9 mi) westward from Great Exuma Island (not pictured). The deepest parts of the channels are the darkest blue.

The caption says, “Thanks to the astronaut’s steady hands in controlling a long lens in weightlessness, this photograph is detailed enough to show a single aircraft and its twin condensation trails.” Can anyone see this? I can't.

But I can see the shadows of clouds on the water, which is rather cool.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, recently past the halfway mark of his one-year mission to the International Space Station, photographed the Nile River during a nighttime flyover on Sept. 22, 2015. (Image Credit: NASA)
Red Sea coral reefs off the coast of Saudi Arabia (true color image).

The Red Sea contains some of the world’s warmest and saltiest seawater – that's the result of high levels of evaporation by the hot dry climate. Normally the sea is the intense blue-green that you see here, but algal blooms sometimes form and turn the sea a reddish color when they die off. (Image captured by Sentinel-2A in June of this year)

A note for those interested in geology: The Red Sea lies in a fault separating two blocks of Earth’s crust – the Arabian and African plates. 
What does Scott Kelly have for us now?

On Oct. 12-13, 2015, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took a series of seventeen photographs from the International Space Station during a single flyover of Australia. The pass was from the south to the northeast over the continent. This was the first photo, so all I can say is that it's somewhere in southern Australia, since although the series of pictures are certainly the #EarthArt Kelly has named them, but they aren't otherwise labeled.
ESA's Proba-V minisatellite was having a look at Africa's highest peak Mt Kilimanjaro. Although it's practically on the equator, it's so high that its summit is covered with snow and ice. This is a false-color image taken in June of this year. As the altitude increases, the vegetation decreases. It's tropical at the bottom, but the light blue at the top represents the summit glacier.
Manicouagan Crater, Quebec, Canada, imaged in March by ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite. It was taken by radar and this is a false color view. The blue tones represent bodies of ice and some water, the yellow and orange tones denote ageing vegetation of different types, mixed with patches of snow and ice.

The crater is 214 million years old, created by an asteroid impact. It's one of the largest impact craters on Earth, the inner ring being 70 km (40 mi) in diameter and the multiple-ring structure about 100 km (60 mi) across.
This image from European satellite Sentinel-2A features Cairo, in Egypt on 13 August.

The capital of Egypt, Cairo is one of the largest cities in Africa. It has existed for over 1000 years on the same spot on the Nile River banks. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Cairo is the passage to the Nile River delta.The river is the cause of the strong contrasts in the image. It delivers the water to transform the desert into a lush garden, where produce such as tomatoes, potatoes, sugar cane, rice and even cotton are grown. The sharp borderline between green fields and the yellow–brown desert is clear. The area is greener on the west side where the flatter terrain is more easily irrigated.

The city of Cairo shows striking contrasts. Along the well-irrigated shoreline, the green reveals the thick vegetation, while the grey areas denote the dense city. The 6th of October City, on the left side of the image, is a new city in the desert. It hosts students from various countries, as well as from Egypt, who study at its private universities. Cairo’s various golf courses are also featured in this image, as well as the international airport, partly visible on the top right.

Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA
This strange and wonderful photo is titled Fingerprints of Water on the Sand. It shows an area of Oman and was taken last week by NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren from the International Space Station.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Autumn phytoplankton bloom - 12/13/15 06:08 AM
Phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic. Phytoplankton are microscopic, plant-like organisms and in the spring and autumn they bloom in profusion. We know that they're important to Earth's ecology, but are not yet certain in what ways they effect it. This bloom was observed by the Suomi NPP satellite in September 2015 and there was some processing to highlight differences in color and enhance the more subtle features of the bloom.

(Credit: NASA image by Norman Kuring, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, captioned by Kathryn Hansen)
Released today, a stunning, false-color image taken by Sentinel-2A in August. This is southern Mongolia, with China to the south and Russia to the north, deep in the heart of Asia. The average elevation is 1500 m (about 5000 ft) above sea level.

Asia's largest desert, the Gobi Desert, is a rain shadow desert, because the rain from the Indian Ocean is blocked by the Himalayas. At the bottom of the image, you can see part of the Baga Bogd Mountain range – its highest peak is 3600 m (nearly 12,000 ft).

There is some vegetation and the different red tones represent different types of vegetation. Erosion patterns are very noticeable in the image, and in the top right, there is the saline Taatsiin Tsagaan Lake. It shows up a bright turquoise because of its depth and high salt concentration.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Earthrise from the Moon - 12/21/15 08:18 PM
Usually, pictures of the Earth from space are from Earth orbit. But this picture of the Earth is from lunar orbit. It's a composite image made up from a set of images taken on October 12 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit on the farside of the Moon.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Calgary in the snow - 01/03/16 09:05 AM
Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the snow, photographed by British astronaut Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.
Commander Scott Kelly on board the International Space Station took this picture on January 2nd of this year. It shows a snowy volcano on an Aleutian island, letting off steam.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy The New Year from space - 01/11/16 07:22 AM
A beautiful picture of Earth from the ISS, taken by Commander Scott Kelly to mark the New Year. (Blue is my favorite color and I think this picture rocks!)

Kelly already has the record for the longest space mission of any NASA astronaut. He will have spent a year on the ISS by the time he comes home. However cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent over 14 months consecutively on the Soviet space station Mir.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Bahrein and the Persian Gulf - 01/22/16 12:51 PM
Here is a lovely image featuring the island of Bahrain and surroundings in the Persian Gulf. Blue - my favorite color! The picture is from Sentinel-2A satellite data on 18 September 2015.
The French Riviera taken by ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite four days after its launch in June 2015. Nice airport is in the lower left. (This is a false colour image - it was obtained in infrared, which is invisible to our eyes.)
British astronaut Tim Peake aboard the ISS shares this night pass over Italy, the Alps and Mediterranean.

Credits: ESA/NASA
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy World Wetlands Day and satellites - 02/02/16 01:45 PM
February 2 is World Wetlands Day. It was 45 years ago that the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted as a framework for national action and international cooperation in managing wetlands. Wetlands are land areas that are saturated with water for all or part of the year, and they're important in local ecologies.

Earth observation satellites are key to monitoring and managing wetlands. This is promoted through ESA’s GlobWetland Africa project and the TIGER initiative ‘Looking After Water in Africa’.

Click here to see a collection of satellite images of wetlands. Gorgeous.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Superbowl 2016 - 02/09/16 06:46 PM
Strictly speaking, this isn't a beautiful image, but with all the fuss in the USA about the Superbowl, I couldn't resist. On February 7, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly took this photo of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. He was flying over it on the International Space Station, and wrote: "Got to see the #SuperBowl in person after all! But at 17,500MPH, it didn't last long."

(Image Credit: NASA)
Not an abstract painting, but an image from NASA's Aqua satellite. It was taken over the Sea of Okhotsk (northwestern Pacific Ocean) a few days ago. The long parallel bands of cumulus clouds are called cloud streets. They form when there's a sort of temperature sandwich! Cold air is blowing over warmer waters and there's a warm air layer above it. This is known as a temperature inversion. (Famously, Los Angeles can get bad smogs when an inversion happens there.)

Image Credit: NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Heart of Voh - 02/14/16 10:17 PM
Satellite image of mangrove swamps along the coast of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean The heart-shaped formation – known as the ‘Heart of Voh’ is a natural structure caused by changes in vegetation cover. This false-colour image was captured by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s Kompsat-2 satellite on 1 April 2009. (Copyright KARI/ESA)
In this false color image from 20 August, Sentinel-2A brings us to Utah’s Salt Lake City and surroundings.

Salt Lake City is at at 1300 m (around 4000 ft), bordered by the waters of the Great Salt Lake and the peaks of the Wasatch Range, which rise over 2200 m (around 7000 ft) above the Salt Lake valley floor. The lake, partly visible on the left side of the image, is the largest salt-water lake in the Western Hemisphere. The lighter blue areas denote solar evaporation ponds at the edges of the lake, which produce salts and brine.

Although it has been referred to as "America's Dead Sea”, the lake provides habitat for millions of native birds, brine shrimp, shorebirds and waterfowl.
I wouldn't be able to work out what we're seeing in this picture if it hadn't been labeled. What looks like a strange bit of abstract sculpture is Welsh hills with snow on them. The photo was taken by British astronaut Tim Peake from the International Space Station.
What is this? It looks to me like the cat has got hold of a ball of yarn and unwound it. But it's actually a picture astronaut Tim Peake took from the International Space Station. It's a glacial river flowing from a Patagonian ice field. Nice, huh? (Credits: ESA/NASA)
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 03/27/16 07:07 PM
This picture was titled "Earth Art in Northern Australia" and I wondered if it should go into this thread or the Heavenly Art thread.

Have a look at this [url=]great picture of the coast of Northern Australia[/url] and see what you think. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams took it during a flyover of Australia by the International Space Station.
Where and what is this?

It's Lake Amadeus in Australia's Northern Territory, as seen by The European Space Agency's Sentinel-2A satellite on December 19, 2015.
Blue is my favorite color and this magnificent picture of Antarctica is full of it. Tim Peake took the breathtaking shot from the International Space Station. The view from the ISS is usually straight down, but in this orbit they got an oblique view of Antarctica - and perfect weather too. Just wow!
Anybody live in the Chicago area, or know it well? Here's a picture of Chicago taken from space. NASA's Tim Kopra, Expedition 47 Commander, took this night image earlier this month from the International Space Station.
British astronaut Tim Peake took this picture of France from the International Space Station a few days ago. The northern part and far south are hidden by clouds, but the outline of the country is clear. Southern Britain is also visible.
British astronaut Tim Peake took this great picture of Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia - and also Corsica, though that's part of France. If you follow the link to Flikr, you can enlarge the picture by clicking on it.

In April I was on a ship that sailed through the Straits of Messina which separates Sicily - just off the toe of "the boot" - from the mainland. From the angle of this photo it looks as if it's attached, but there is water there!
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/04/16 04:05 PM
Mona, please repost the URL for this image.
Angie, thank you for telling me about that wonky URL. Apologies to anyone who clicked on it and just came back to the forum. I've corrected it in the original post and also here is the Tim Peake photo of Italy!
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/04/16 08:35 PM
Thanks, Mona. It's a beautiful photo. I love Italy and can look at the photo and see where my father's paternal family lived.
Landsat 8 view of the San Francisco Bay area, March 2015. (Photo: USGS/ESA)

Some highlights

San Andreas Fault: You can see it in the top-left corner, running diagonally to the south.
San Francisco: The city is on a peninsula in the center left. Densely populated urban areas show up in white/grey.
Forests & parks: Shades of green
Agriculture: In the upper right corner, the geometrically-shaped fields are in different colors depending on what's growing there.
Tim Peake on the International Space Station took this picture of the Patagonian southern ice field.

Beautiful. And also looks quite yummy.
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/24/16 10:00 AM
The Earth is simply amazing to behold.
This image comes courtesy of Copenicus Sentinel-2A over the Kingdom of Tonga . Isn't this a super picture? It shows the island of Tongatapu and some nearby smaller islands in the archipelago of 169 islands. [Image processing of Sentinel data by ESA]

There are coral reefs north of the main island. ESA reports that
scientists are experimenting with Sentinel-2 to monitor corals and detect coral bleaching. That happens when algae living in the corals’ tissues, which are essential to coral survival, are expelled owing to higher temperature. The whitening coral may die, with subsequent effects on the reef ecosystem, and thus fisheries, regional tourism and coastal protection.

The recent El Niño weather phenomenon has caused increased bleaching across the world’s corals, and scientists are finding Sentinel-2’s coverage helpful in monitoring this at reef-wide scales.
This is the Quarkziz Crater in western Algeria. The image from the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite shows part of the Anti-Atlas mountains bordering the Sahara Desert.

The Anti-Atlas range was born from continental collision, and geologists believe it was once higher than the Himalayas, but was reduced through erosion. Here the land is mostly dry and barren as the mountains belong to the Saharan climate zone. But some stream channels created by occasional water runoff or from when the climate was much wetter than today, are visible.

The circle at the centre of the image is the Ouarkziz crater. Some 3.5 km across, the crater was created when a meteor hit Earth less than 70 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the planet.
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 10/05/16 07:45 PM
the pictures from space are amazing. I'll be watching some show on archaeology and they show how they use images taken from space to find pyramids, cities, etc. underground.
Landsat-8 satellite takes us over Iceland’s southeastern coast and the Vatnajökull glacier I in this false-colour image from 6 September 2014.

Copyright: USGS/ESA

Glaciers cover 11% of Iceland’s landscape, the largest being the Vatnajökull, which at 8000 sq km is also the largest in Europe. Up to a kilometre thick, the Vatna ice cap has about 30 outlet glaciers.

A number of volcanoes lie underneath this ice cap, including the infamous Grímsvötn, which caused disruption of northern European air traffic in recent years following eruptions and the spread of ash plumes. This volcano is visible as a black arc on the central-left side of the image.
These beautiful images taken by ESA's Sentinel-3A were released on October 20, 2016.

The two images were taken over northeast Greenland on June 13 and August 22 of this year. You can see the differences in the sea ice over that time period.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Kathmandu - 10/22/16 08:29 AM
This image from Sentinel 2-A data shows part of Nepal, including Kathmandu the capital city .

It's a false-color image. The vegetation is in red, waterways and buildings are light green and blue.

One of the easier features to pick out of satellite images are airports, and the runways of the Tribhuvan International Airport are clearly visible near the centre of the valley.

This image demonstrates just a slice of Nepal’s varied terrain: from the mountains to the north to the plains in the south. We can see how water runs off of the mountains, forming large rivers that cut through the forested plain, with some areas of agriculture. The lower part of the image appears hazier than the mountainous areas because humidity is higher in the plains.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy Putorana Plateau, Siberia - 10/28/16 06:12 AM
Here is an image of the Putorana Plateau, Siberia captured in March 2016 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite.

It shows part of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated about 100 km north of the Arctic Circle, the site serves as a major reindeer migration route – an increasingly rare natural phenomenon – and is one of the very few centres of plant species richness in the Arctic.

Virtually untouched by human influence, this isolated mountain range includes pristine forests and cold-water lake and river systems. The lakes are characterised by elongated, fjord-like shapes, such as Lake Ayan in the upper-central part of the image.

Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA
On October 30 2016 a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy. This is a map made using data from the satellites Copernicus Sentinel-1A and 1B.

We can see how much the ground was deformed by the quake over about 130 sq km. The Castelluccio area had the maximum displacement - you can see it in red on the map.

(Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016)/ESA/CNR-IREA)
The Virunga Mountains in east Africa are a chain of volcanoes that lie across Rwanda's northern border with Uganda, east into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two of the volcanoes are active.

The area is one of Africa’s most biologically diverse regions, but high human population density, poverty and conflict pose a challenge to conservation. Across the mountain range, however, a series of national parks has been established to protect the fauna and flora.

In this image, we can easily identify the delineation between the protected and non-protected lands – the green, orange and yellow dots indicate changes in the surface of non-protected lands between the radar scans that make up this composite image. These changes are primarily in vegetation as the land surrounding the mountains is blanketed with agricultural plots.

In particular, we can see the grid-like pattern of agriculture is visible in the green and yellow square at the centre of the image.

Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 11/12/16 09:30 AM
So weird to look down onto that photo -
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.
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 11/13/16 08:35 PM
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 12/23/16 10:38 PM
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.
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.
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.
Posted By: Nancy Roussy Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 01/14/17 07:06 PM
Cool picture.
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
The Ötztal Alps in the state of Tyrol in the western Austria. The false-color image comes from the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite. Snow is shown in blue to make it easier to distinguish between snow and vegetation.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet writes that Barcelona is pretty in the morning light. It's a strangely monotone view from the ISS - maybe it's the time of year. Pesquet goes on to say
I drove there as a student, I flew there as a pilot. Always a good place to be. I know a really good restaurant there… let me find the street wink

And of course, he's now seen it from space. I'll be happy to see it again at ground level, especially the parks and gardens and the sea. A lovely city.
This is a dramatic view of the Earth with the Moon rising over the Pacific. It was taken by Rosetta three minutes before the point of closest approach during the first Earth fly-by.

Credit: ESA
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 03/04/17 04:00 PM
What an unusual photo.
Posted By: Nancy Roussy Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 03/04/17 05:04 PM
Cool picture!
In 20 seconds Pesquet took 30 highly zoomed photos which have been assembled into this collage. It's Barcelona again, a love I share with astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Ships entering the harbour and landmarks of Barcelona such as the Olympic village and La Ramblas are visible as you zoom in. I've put in a link to the whole page because if you download a high-res version you can zoom in and explore.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet doesn't just photograph Barcelona from the space station! This strange picture was taken over Russia. He tweeted "I cannot explain these km-long parallel lines."

But a follower helped out.
This photograph shows the parallel lines of a major shelterbelt - also known as a windbreak - crossing the steppes of southern Russia near the Volga River. The image shows a 14-kilometer section of an extensive system of shelterbelts planted to protect crops and reduce the erosion of steppe soils by wind. The shelterbelt is broken where it meets a local stream.
The Pyrenees from space.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet: Another view of the Pyrenees: all the valleys are oriented from south to north... except one, it seems

I have to admit that I can't make any sense of this view, but it's beautiful and intriguing.
This is an odd picture. It looks like an animal, with a head rearing, neck and shoulders, and body. But it's actually the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Thomas Pesquet, the ESA astronaut who took the picture, said:
The Cape of Good Hope, aptly named, one of Africa's most southern points! Crossing it with a space station is certainly not comparable to doing so sailing.
Easter Island - Rapa Nui as seen by ESA's Copernicus EU Sentinel-2A satellite on April 7, 2017.
It's a Chilean island in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean, at the south-easternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle, and it is also one of the most remote inhabited places in the world.
Composite image of continental U.S. at night, 2016.

Credits: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Cente
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 04/27/17 09:15 AM
I would have thought there would be more light in the midwest than is shown in this photo. I am not surprised by the eastern states and the west coast. There is a lot of farm acreage in Middle America.
At first glance, this picture looked like a tangle of sea monsters. But it's actually Venice photographed by astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Click to enlarge. Venice sure looks different from the International Space Station than it does from a cruise ship.
Here's an unusual view of Egypt's Aswan Dam. It's the view from the International Space Station. Astronaut Thomas Pesquet says that "with a good camera lens, we can see the water spill when the valves are open".

Credits: ESA/NASA
Credits: ESA/NASA Oman from orbit.

"Clouds, water, sand. A poetic picture of Oman." by astronaut Thomas Pesquet

Credits: ESA/NASA
It's night time in Europe
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
I've been intrigued and delighted by Juno's amazing views of Jupiter. But here's a photo Juno took of Earth before setting off for the outer Solar System. Beautiful.

Credit : NASA / JPLISwRI MSSS / Ken Kremer, Marco Di Lorenzo
Taken on July 24th by NASA's AIM satellite, this is a satellite image of the North Pole - in fact, the whole Arctic region - complete with electric-blue noctilucent clouds. There must have been some great sightings from the ground. explains what these clouds are:
Noctilucent clouds are, essentially, clouds of frosted meteor smoke. They form when wisps of summertime water vapor rise toward the top of Earth's atmosphere. Water molecules stick to the microscopic debris of disintegrated meteoroids, assembling themselves into tiny crystals of ice that glow beautifully in sunlight at the edge of space.
Abstract painting? Microscope image? You've realized that isn't right from the name of this thread. It's an orbital view (courtesty of Roscosmos) of Brukkaros Mountain, an extinct volcano in the Karas region of Namibia.
The Nile river at night was photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli on board the International Space Station. (When you get to the Flickr page, worth clicking to enlarge.)
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 10/02/17 08:41 AM
Mona, I've bee on the Nile at night. What a view this is though.
Washington, DC seen from space. The image was captured by ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite on 25 August 2015.

A short ESA video points out some of the features of interest in the picture.
NASA's Landsat 8 satellite, in this natural color image of the Tanzerouft Basin in Algeria, shows concentric rings of exposed sandstone strata that create stunning patterns.

The Tanezrouft Basin's colloquial name is the Land of Terror because, for many, to traverse this land is to stare death in the face. Annual rainful is measured at less than 5 mm (0.2 inches). It's a place of very high temperatures and scarce water and vegetation. There aren't even any permanent residents there, only occasional Tuareg nomads.
Now here's something you don't see every day: snow in the Sahara! But ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite did see it on January 8 this year. It's only the third time in nearly 40 years that this part of the desert has seen snow.
While snow is common in the High Atlas Mountains, the image shows that, unusually, snow fell on the lower Saharan Atlas Mountain Range. The image is dominated by the orange–brown dunes and mountains dusted with snow.

The town of El Baydah can be seen towards the bottom left. To the east of El Baydah, a cultivated forest is visible as a red rectangle. The image, which has been processed to display vegetation in red, shows that there is very little flora in the region.
It's another satellite image that looks like a water color - and in my favorite colors too! It's a natural-color image of a plankton bloom in the Barents Sea. Captured in September 2016 by ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite.
Plankton, the most abundant type of life found in the ocean, are microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea. They are sometimes referred to as ‘the grass of the sea’ because they are the basic food on which all other marine life depends.
On February 19th, 2018, the Sinabung Volcano in Indonesia erupted violently, spewing ash at least 5 to 7 kilometers (16,000 to 23,000 feet) into the air over Indonesia. Ash falls, which are a severe health hazard, were recorded as far as 260 km (160 mi) away from the volcano. Here is the Sinabung eruption seen from space.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Released today by the European Space Agency (ESA) is this image of Southeast Namibia and the western edge of the Kalahari Desert.

The Kalahari is not a true desert as it receives too much rain, but it is a semi-arid zone and an area of ancient fossilised sand dunes. Some of these dunes, also known as sand sheets, can be seen running across the top-right corner of the image and appear surprisingly parallel and uniform.To the east, the landscape also looks like an alien orange world and is dominated by ridges, escarpments and dry lake beds known as salt pans. Roads cutting sharply across the landscape are a reminder that this region is not entirely unpopulated.

Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA
Turning snow orange.
Sand and dust stirred up by desert storms in north Africa have caused snow in eastern Europe to turn orange, transforming mountainous regions into Mars-like landscapes.

This Copernicus Sentinel-2A image of Libya captured on 22 March shows Saharan dust being blown northwards across the Mediterranean Sea. Lifted into the atmosphere, the dust was carried by the wind and pulled back down to the surface in rain and snow. It reached as far afield as Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Russia. While the orange-tinted snow baffled skiers, meteorologists say this phenomenon occurs about every five years.

Released 26/03/2018
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Earth from about 393,000 miles (633,000 km) away, as seen by the Rosetta spacecraft during its third and final swing-by of our home planet in 2009.
The southeast geography of the state of Massachusetts including Cape Cod Bay, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the arm-shaped peninsula is clearly seen from the International Space Station as it orbited over the Atlantic coast of the United States.
Red Sea from Sentinel-3B. Captured on 9 May 2018, this image shows the Red Sea, the River Nile and the surrounding desert landscape of Egypt and the Middle East. Vegetation is shown in red.
An unusual view of London. This is a radar image from ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite, so the colors are artificial. London appears as a cluster of bright radar reflections along the River Thames.

Released 19/03/2015 10:04 am
Copyright Copernicus data/ESA (2015), CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Mt. Shasta pokes out from the fog-filled valleys of the Klamath Mountains. North of the the mountain, the Great Basin Desert meets the Cascade Range.

August 21, 2017. Image via NASA, taken by astronauts on board the space station.
ESA's Sentinel-2B images Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.

The lava channels are pretty clear in this image of the Hawaii volcano from 23 May. It's an enhanced true-colour image. Optical images from the Sentinel-2 satellite and the interferogram produced from Sentinel-1 data are helping assessing the situation on Hawaii's Big Island.
Aurora and Manicouagan Crater from the Space Station

How many of these can you find in today's featured photograph: an aurora, airglow, one of the oldest impact craters on the Earth, snow and ice, stars, city lights, and part of the International Space Station?

Most of these can be identified by their distinctive colors. The aurora here appears green at the bottom, red at the top, and is visible across the left of image. Airglow appears orange and can be seen hovering over the curve of the Earth. The circular Manicouagan Crater in Canada, about 100 kilometers across and 200 million years old, is visible toward the lower right and is covered in white snow and ice. Stars, light in color, dot the dark background of space. City lights appear a bright yellow and dot the landscape. Finally, across the top, part of the International Space Station (ISS) appears mostly tan.

Image Credit: NASA (taken from the ISS in 2012)
Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
When I first looked at this, it seemed rather unsavory, but in fact it's the Italian Alps and plains as seen by the Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite.
The image captures the transition between the high snow-capped peaks of the Italian Alps and the flatlands of the northwest Po Valley. This transition cuts a sharp diagonal across the image, with the mountains in the top left triangle and the flat low-lying land in the bottom right.

The southern part of the beautiful Lake Maggiore can also be seen in the image. Although its northern end crosses into Switzerland, Lake Maggiore is Italy’s longest lake and its character changes accordingly. The upper end is completely alpine in nature and the water is cool and clear, the middle region is milder lying between gentle hills and Mediterranean flora, and the lower end advances to the verge of the plain of Lombardy.

The River Ticino, which rises in Switzerland and flows through Lake Maggiore, can be seen emerging from the lake’s southern tip. Here, the land, which is one of the most fertile regions in Italy, gives way to numerous agricultural fields, which are clearly visible to the west of the river. The city of Milan lies to the east of the river.
The first imagery from NOAA’s GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) made its public debut on May 31, 2018. Here you can see the GOES-17 image of Earth and find out more about it.

Taken through a window on the International Space Station by the EarthKAM camera, this photograph shows the boundary between a major dune field and dark hills along the border between Algeria and Libya. These landscapes are among the driest parts of the Sahara Desert. For scale, the dune margin shown in this photo is slightly more than 100 kilometers long.
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/06/18 08:01 PM
Mona, what a stark difference in the landscape. Sort of reminds me of when I am stopped at an intersection and it is raining on one side of the street and not on the other.
This impressive pic of the volcano on Hawaii's Big Island just came in from the International Space Station, taken by Drew Feustel. "We can still see the Earth’s fury from the Space Station as the lava continues to flow from #Kilauea. Expedition 56 is thinking of Hawaii as the dynamic Earth continues to evolve."
Posted By: Angie Re: Earth from Space - beautiful images - 06/13/18 12:33 AM
Is the white ash and the white border the lava?
Angie, I can't help on that one. I'm not much good at interpreting these Earth photos. The satellite images come with an explanation, but when the astronauts take pictures from the space station, we don't get that.
It's a true-color image taken over Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Sharm is at lower left, with the town of Nabq farther up the coast. Tiran and Sanafir Islands are centre and right. The Gulf of Aqaba at the top centre feeds into the Red Sea - home to some of the warmest and saltiest seawater in the world.

Image: Copernicus EU #Sentinel-2
This Copernicus EU #Sentinel-2 image shows Aorounga crater in Northern Chad (via VisioTerra) lying only 100 km away from the Emi Koussi volcano. Measuring about 12 km across, the crater was created by a meteorite impact about 340 million years ago.
From an altitude of 255 miles, an Expedition 59 crew member on the International Space Station photographed the Richat Structure, also known as the "Eye of the Sahara" in northwestern Mauritania.

The circular geologic feature is thought to be caused by an uplifted dome that has been eroded to expose the originally flat rock layers.
Captured on 14 April 2018 by the Copernicus EU #Sentinel-2A satellite, this image shows western Pakistan and an important wetland area. It shows a fragmented coast, part of the Indus River Delta. The Indus River, visible on the right, veers through the Sindh Province and is one of the longest rivers in the world, rising in Tibet and flowing around 3000 km before emptying into the Arabian Sea. The delta consists of creeks, swamps, marshes and the seventh largest mangrove forest in the world.
This isn't such a beautiful image for the people living there. While weather forecasts provide the temperature of the air, this map generated from the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus EU Sentinel-3 satellite data shows us how hot the land surface is. This is from yesterday, the 26th of June.
The white areas in the image are where cloud obscured readings of land temperature and the light blue patches are snow-covered areas.

Countries worst hit by this unusual June weather include Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland. In many places heat warnings have been issued and cities such as Paris have connected fountains and sprinklers to hydrants to help give people some relief. Wildfires in Catalonia, said to be the worst in two decades, have already ripped across 5000 hectares of land and are being blamed on the heat and strong winds.

A false-colour image of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia captured by the ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite on Christmas Day in 2015. The desert covers an area of over 150,000 sq km, and includes gravel terrains covered by deserts grass, also red sandy plains and dunefields.

On the left side of this false-colour image we see many strange shapes in varying shades of blue. These are the remnants of areas purposefully burned by the Pintupi people to encourage plant growth or drive game animals into the open.

Many of the Pintupi people moved to settlements when the British military began testing missile in the region in the 1950s. The areas that they had burned became overgrown, becoming even more susceptible to manmade or lightning-caused fires, which then burn out of control, leaving behind large burn scars.

In the lower-right corner of the image we can make out a circular structure. This is the Connolly Basin impact crater, believed to have been formed around 60 million years ago. Some 9 km across, the rim rises 25-30 m above the crater's basin.

ESA presents a fascinating image that looks like a painting. But it's a Copernicus Sentinel-2 image that features an area in the Santa Cruz Department of Bolivia, where part of the tropical dry forest has been cleared for agricultural use. The region has been transformed from dense forest into a patterned expanse of agricultural land. This deforestation method, common in this part of Bolivia, is characterised by the radial patterns that can be seen clearly in the image.

Each patterned field is approximately 20 sq km and each side is around 2.5 km long. Small settlements can be seen in the centre of each individual field in the image, which typically contain a church, a school and a soccer field. These communities are joined by a road network depicted by the straight lines that bisect the radial fields and connect the adjacent areas.
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