Saturday 20 January 2018

Most detailed pictures of Earth revealed by Nasa

All images courtesy of NASA
All images courtesy of NASA

Andrew Hough

The most detailed and amazing set of composite satellite images of the Earth ever produced, have been disclosed by Nasa scientists.

Perfectly capturing the fragility of the Earth in one remarkable shot, the composition shows the entire North American continent, Central America, the northern half of South America, Greenland and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The space agency produced the stunning series images using thousands of “satellite-based observations” hundreds of miles above the planet.

View high-res image east

View high-res image west

The images of the earth’s land surface, oceans, coastlines and clouds were then “stitched” together by scientists to create the “seamless” mosaic of Earth.

Astronomers at the Goddard Space Flight Centre produced the series, called “Blue Marble”, using the Terra satellite more than 700km above the Earth's surface.

They also produced an accurate example of the Earth's topography, ocean depths and Arctic and Antarctic ice.

After capturing images every eight days – to compensate for clouds that might block the sensor’s view – the composition has even left Nasa experts astonished.

"This image is the most detailed image of Earth to date and which shows the beauty of our small planet," a Nasa spokesman said.

"It was created using a collection of satellite-based observations.

"Scientists and visualisers (then) stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-colour mosaic of every square kilometre of our planet.”

The imagery, which is used by Apple as the iPhone’s default icon, was compiled by Nasa’s Moderate Resolution Imagining Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which is on-board the satellite Terra.

To prepare a clear composite representation of the Earth floating in the vastness of space, researchers used surface observers to guide the images taken from aboard the satellite that contained the MODIS unit.

While the satellite-based composite photographs were taken between June and September 2001, the new images were only recently uploaded by the space agency on to its Flickr account.

Nasa Scientists also used additional research from the US Geological Survey and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's AVHRR sensor (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiatmeter).

Nasa has been photographing the Earth from space since the first camera equipped satellites were launched into space in the early 1960s.

Since then the space agency has been compiling images of our planet every year.

The best remembered image is the famous “Blue Marble” photograph taken by the astronauts of Apollo 17 in 1972.

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