Want to see how Las Vegas has grown from 1972 through 2010? NASA created this unique time-lapse video using photographs captured by Landsat satellites. From this perspective, it almost looks like humans are a mold spreading across the face of a fruit.
Posts Tagged ‘satellite’
After NASA published its latest jaw-dropping “Blue Marble” photograph of Earth last month, many of you wondered how “real” the image was. Here’s NASA’s explanation on how their images are created:
The Suomi NPP satellite is in a polar orbit around Earth at an altitude of 512 miles (about 824 kilometers), but the perspective of the new Eastern hemisphere ‘Blue Marble’ is from 7,918 miles (about 12,743 kilometers). NASA scientist Norman Kuring managed to ‘step back’ from Earth to get the big picture by combining data from six different orbits of the Suomi NPP satellite. Or putting it a different way, the satellite flew above this area of Earth six times over an eight hour time period. Norman took those six sets of data and combined them into one image.
So rather than being a composite of multiple images captured from the same perspective, they do in fact map images captured by the satellite onto a 3D sphere.
NASA has released another Blue Marble photograph of Earth. It calls this one the “most amazing, highest resolution image of Earth ever”. The image is a composite created from a number of photos of Earth’s surface captured on January 4, 2012, and weighs in at a massive 64-megapixels (8000×8000). You can download the full-res version here. Be warned though — it might crash your browser.
Farmlands might look pretty ordinary from ground level, but photograph crop fields from space (or even from an airplane) and you’ll see strange and beautiful patterns.
Ever wonder how the US government managed to capture spy photos with satellites during the Cold War without the help of digital cameras, computers, or wireless transmission? The Atlantic has a fascinating article on the various techniques that were used:
From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles (100 kilometers) of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth’s atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.
You can check out all the details of the super secret photography program in this now-declassified report.
As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, NASA has published a satellite photograph of Earth to its Flickr stream in which the storm is clearly visible. The storm has a diameter of 510 miles — roughly 1/3 the length of the East Coast — so it could probably be seen very clearly from someone standing on the moon. President Obama is warning Americans that the hurricane could be of “historic proportions”.
Don’t want people using photos of your private island without permission? Watermark it! Billionaire Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan had his name carved into the sand of his island in the Persian Gulf. The giant “HAMAD” is two miles long and half a mile tall, is partially filled with water from the Persian Gulf, and can be clearly seen in photographs of the region capture by satellite. Gives new meaning to the term “watermark”, eh?
Image credit: Photograph by Google Imagery, DigitalGlobe, Cnes/Spot Image, GeoEye, U.S. Geological Survey
Apparently airplanes travel a little too fast for the satellites that provide photos for Google Maps. It happened to capture this plane shooting across the sky over Hyde Park in Chicago, but separated the plane into a phantom plane and three RGB shadows. Anyone have an explanation for what caused this phenomenon?