Author Topic: Earth from space: image of the week  (Read 240846 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #520 on: 05/13/2022 10:04 am »
Arc de Triomphe, Paris
13/05/2022

This striking, high-resolution image of the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, was captured by Planet SkySat – a fleet of satellites that have just joined ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme in April 2022.

The Arc de Triomphe, or in full Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, is an iconic symbol of France and one of the world’s best-known commemorative monuments. The triumphal arch was commissioned by Napoleon I in 1806 to celebrate the military achievements of the French armies. Construction of the arch began the following year, on 15 August (Napoleon’s birthday).

The arch stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, the meeting point of 12 grand avenues which form a star (or étoile), which is why it is also referred to as the Arch of Triumph of the Star. The arch is 50 m high and 45 m wide.

The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on the arch’s inner and outer surfaces, while the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I lies beneath its vault. The tomb’s flame is rekindled every evening as a symbol of the enduring nature of the commemoration and respect shown to those who have fallen in the name of France.

The Arc de Triomphe’s location at the Place Charles de Gaulle places it at the heart of the capital and the western terminus of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (visible in the bottom-right of the image). Often referred to as the ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’, the Champs-Élysées is known for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops, as the finish of the Tour de France cycling race, as well as for its annual Bastille Day military parade.

This image, captured on 9 April 2022, was provided by Planet SkySat – a fleet of 21 very high-resolution satellites capable of collecting images multiple times during the day. SkySat’s satellite imagery, with 50 cm spatial resolution, is high enough to focus on areas of great interest, identifying objects such as vehicles and shipping containers.

SkySat data, along with PlanetScope (both owned and operated by Planet Labs), serve numerous commercial and governmental applications. These data are now available through ESA’s Third Party Mission programme – enabling researchers, scientists and companies from around the world the ability to access Planet’s high-frequency, high-resolution satellite data for non-commercial use.

Within this programme, Planet joins more than 50 other missions to add near-daily PlanetScope imagery, 50 cm SkySat imagery, and RapidEye archive data to this global network.

Peggy Fischer, Mission Manager for ESA’s Third Party Missions, commented, “We are very pleased to welcome PlanetScope and SkySat to ESA’s Third Party Missions portfolio and to begin the distribution of the Planet data through the ESA Earthnet Programme.

“The high-resolution and high-frequency imagery from these satellite constellations will provide an invaluable resource for the European R&D and applications community, greatly benefiting research and business opportunities across a wide range of sectors.”

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #521 on: 06/17/2022 12:18 pm »
Glacier Bay, Alaska
17/06/2022

Part of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, which lies along the coast of southeast Alaska, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Covering over 13 000 sq km of rugged, snow-capped mountains, freshwater lakes, glaciers and deep fjords, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is one of the highlights of Alaska’s Inside Passage. As marine waters make up almost one-fifth of the park, Glacier Bay is rich with marine life, including humpback whales, orcas and sea otters. It’s also home to a large population of bears, moose, wolves and mountain goats.

The bay contains some of the world’s most impressive glaciers that descend from the ice-covered St. Elias Range in the east and the Fairweather Range in the west, with a few notable tidewater glaciers extending all the way to the sea.

John Hopkins Glacier, visible in the far left of the image, is the largest tidewater glacier in the region. Muir Glacier, formerly the most famous of the tidewater glaciers, once rose around 80 m above water and was nearly 3 km wide but has now shrunk and receded and no longer reaches the sea.

Glacier Bay is just one of the many areas suffering from the effects of global warming. The bay is expected to become warmer and drier over the next century, with widespread effects including the further shrinking glaciers, reduced sea ice and shoreline erosion.

Monitoring glaciers is often a challenge considering their sheer size, remoteness and rugged terrain they occupy. Satellites, including ESA’s CryoSat mission, with its elite spaceborne sensor – the radar altimeter – allows for the mapping of glaciers in fine detail. In a study published last year in the Cryosphere, scientists utilised data from the CryoSat mission to show how much ice had been lost from mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska.

Today marks the opening of the ‘Earth’s Memory - glaciers witnesses to the climate crisis’ exhibition, that follows the scientific and photographic journey of glaciers around the world, premiering the results of the ‘On the trail of the glaciers’ project directed by Italian photographer Fabiano Ventura. The exhibition, which is being held in the Forte di Bard Museum, Aosta Valley, Italy, offers its visitors the opportunity to witness the effects of global warming through the power of both photography and ESA satellite imagery.

The exhibition focuses on the world’s largest mountain glaciers with 90 photographic comparisons displayed alongside scientific data collected during the team’s expedition to the world’s largest mountain glaciers. It runs until 18 November 2022 and includes images such as the one featured on this week’s Earth from Space programme. More information on the exhibition, which is part of a scientific collaboration between ESA and is sponsored by UNESCO, can be found here.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #522 on: 06/24/2022 11:29 am »
Lake Balkhash, Kazakhastan
24/06/2022

Lake Balkhash, the largest lake in Central Asia, is featured in this false-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

The lake, which is situated in east-central Kazakhastan, is around 605 km in length from east to west, with a maximum depth of around 25 m. The lake’s size varies depending on water balance, with its area fluctuating from around 15 000 sq km to 19 000 sq km.

Jutting out into the lake is the Sarymsek Peninsula which divides Balkhash into two separate hydraulic parts. The west part is wide and shallow with its water on this side particularly fresh and suitable for drinking. The east part, on the other hand, is narrow and relatively deep, with its waters on this side of the basin brackish and salty. The two parts of the lake are united by a narrow strait, the Uzynaral visible in the centre of the image, with a depth of around 6 m.

The sediment plume passing through the Uzynaral Strait is most likely due to waves stirring up sediments from the bottom of the lake. This has led to a higher reflection and thus a brighter water colour in this part of the lake.

The north banks of Lake Balkhash are high and rocky while the south banks are low and sandy, with wide belts covered with thickets of reeds and numerous small lakes. These low-lying banks are periodically flooded by the waters of the lake.

A high presence of sea ice can be seen in bright blue-greenish colours especially near the southern shoreline. This colour is due to ice having a higher reflectance in the visible parts of the spectrum than in the near-infrared. Balkhash usually remains frozen from the end of November to the beginning of April, with this image captured on 29 November 2021.

South of Balkhash lies the Saryesik-Atyrau Desert, which stretches for around 400 km in east Kazakhastan. There are a great number of small lakes, ponds and wetlands in the desert (visible in brown), as well as occasional grasslands, that support a varied animal and bird population.

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus programme. The mission’s frequent revisits over the same area and high spatial resolution allow changes in water bodies to be closely monitored.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #523 on: 07/01/2022 08:24 am »
Patagonia
01/07/2022

The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission captured this impressive, wide-angled view of Patagonia at the southern end of South America, as well as the Falkland Islands.

Covering an area of around 673 000 sq km, Patagonia is split by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains, with lakes, fjords, rainforests and glaciers in the west and deserts and tablelands to the east.

The island archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, located at the southern tip of Patagonia (the southernmost tip of the image), is shared by Argentina and Chile, with the eastern part of the main island belonging to Argentina and the southern point of the archipelago, which forms Cape Horn, belonging to Chile. The Strait of Magellan, named after the discoverer, lies between Tierra del Fuego and mainland Argentina.

Part of the Alberto de Agostini National Park can be seen in the bottom of the image. The park features a highly irregular coastline, which is deeply indented by fjords. Deemed a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the park has several tidewater glaciers and comprises the Gordon, Cook and Londonderry islands.

The Falkland Islands can be seen in the far-right of the image. The islands lie in the South Atlantic Ocean, around 600 km east of Patagonia. The Falklands comprise two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland, which are separated by the Falkland Sound – a channel that averages around 20 km in width.

The swirling green and blue coloured areas are densely concentrated phytoplankton blooms. These microscopic organisms thrive in the cool, nutrient-rich waters between the coast of southern Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Nutrients carried by rivers promote phytoplankton growth, which may explain the plankton hugging the South American coastline in the image, as well as dust carried from Patagonia offshore which is then diffused on the ocean surface by strong westerly winds.

In spring and summer, populations of algae in the South Atlantic often explode into enormous blooms – which float with the meandering ocean currents. Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Copernicus Sentinel-3 measures systematically Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics.

Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice, while over land maps land, provides indices of vegetation state and measures the height of rivers and lakes.

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #524 on: 07/08/2022 09:42 am »
Fuerteventura and Lanzarote
08/07/2022

Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands lying in the North Atlantic Ocean, are featured in this false-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

The Canary Islands are a group of ocean island volcanoes that were formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The Spanish region and archipelago is located around 100 km off the north coast of Africa and 1000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. The eight main islands are (in order of largest to smallest in area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. The archipelago also includes many smaller islands and islets.

Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands, is visible in the top-right of the image. With over 150 000 inhabitants, it is the third most populous Canary Island, after Tenerife and Gran Canaria. It covers an area of 845 sq km, making it the fourth-largest of the islands in the archipelago.

Lanzarote has a long history of eruptions and is often referred to as the ‘Island of the 1000 volcanoes’, yet it is actually the least mountainous Canarian Island. The highest mountain is the volcano Peñas del Chache near Haría in the northern part of the island, which is 670 m above sea level. The Timanfaya National Park can be seen in the southwest part of the island and is entirely made up of volcanic soil.

Fuerteventura Island, the second largest of the Canaries, lies southwest of Lanzarote, across the Bocaina Strait. Its total area is 1731 sq km and the island is around 110 km long and no more than 30 km wide. Fuerteventura is the oldest island in the Canary Archipelago, having risen between 12 and 20 million years ago owing largely to volcanic activity.

The island is fairly flat and has a desert landscape of sand and stones as well as long beaches. The centre of the island is made up of a wide, elongated valley and, from north to south, is dissected by a series of extinct, eroded volcanoes. The west coast is dotted with rugged cliffs and small bays.

To the northeast of Fuerteventura, separated by the 15 m deep strait El Río, lies the island of Isla de Lobos. The only six sq km island is home to a 127 m high extinct volcano.

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