Posts Tagged ‘satellite’
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?
Frank Taylor, the guy behind the unofficial Google Earth Blog, is currently on a 5 years sailing trip around the world called The Tahina Expedition. Google is actually a partner in the expedition, and is acquiring content generated by the trip for use in their products. One thing Taylor has been doing is taking aerial photographs of locations using a kite, resulting in imagery that’s much clearer than the photos Google gets from their satellites up in space. Google has already begun incorporating some of these images into their products, as you can see from this Google Maps satellite view of Manihi in French Polynesia.
This has got to be one of the saddest uses of imagery ever. The Daily Mail is reporting that iPhone owners in the UK are using satellite photos and GPS to cheat at getting out of corn mazes. By seeing their current location in a birds-eye view of the maze, visitors can quickly solve even the most challenging corn mazes.
Adventure seekers usually spend anything up to 90 minutes getting lost in the Hedge Maze at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire, before finding the exit.
But staff at the attraction have noticed people are working their way round the labyrinth of two miles of pathways and 16,000 yew trees in just a matter of minutes.
The idea is clever, but super lame. Can you think of anything else that satellite imagery can help you cheat at?
Typical sized white balance cards may be of (literally) little assistance in color calibrating global imaging satellites, but scientists have figured a clever workaround. Lake Tuz, Turkey’s third largest lake, dries out annually and turns into a giant salt bed. Because of its vast size and unique salty white color, scientists worldwide can use the lake to standardize their satellite measurements.
From August 14-25, scientists will be comparing ground-based measurements and comparing them with satellite results.
Apparently satellites don’t come with preset white balance for “sunny.”
Image credit: Satellite image via Google Maps