Satellite Image of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan

satellite image el capitan yosemiteIKONOS (0.8m) Satellite Image of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan

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Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea.

Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California’s 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat or documentation for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy. Visit Yosemite National Park…

yosemite national park

Satellite Image of Victoria Falls ‘The Smoke That Thunders’

satellite image victoria fallsPleiades (0.5m) Satellite Photo of Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

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Copyright © ASTRIUM and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

View more satellite images and photos from the Pleiades 1A & 1B satellite sensors.

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the form of the gorges below the falls. The basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone. In the area of the current falls the largest cracks run roughly east to west (some run nearly north-east to south-west), with smaller north-south cracks connecting them.

Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges. The river’s course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.

Apart from some dry sections, the Second to Fifth and the Songwe Gorges each represents a past site of the falls at a time when they fell into one long straight chasm as they do now.  forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.

Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below. Read more about Victoria Falls.

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Satellite Image of Nazca Lines in Peru

satellite image nazca line peruPleiades-1B (0.5m) Satellite Image Nazca Lines in Peru

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Copyright © ASTRIUM and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards.

The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them. Read more about the Nazca Lines.

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Satellite Image Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania SPOT-6 (1.5m) Satellite Image of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, Africa

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Copyright © ASTRIUM and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8,292 square kilometers. It is one of the three divisions that comprise Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region.

NCA was established in 1959 by the NCA Ordinance No 413 of 1959 as a multiple land use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where conservation of natural resources in integrated with human development.

The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 millions migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem (TAWIRI, 2003) and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as ‘Entim Olturot’ in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and palaeontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human foot-prints that were discovered at Alaitole in Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme. Source: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority

Ngorongoro_Crater_Panorama

Ngorongoro Crater Panorama

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Satellite Image of Petermann Glacier in Greenland

Petermann GlacierWorldView-1 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Petermann Glacier, Greenland – Ice Calving

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The Greenland Ice Sheet blankets 81 percent of Greenland Island. This monstrous ice slab stretches 2,480 kilometers (1,540 miles) long and up to 750 kilometers (465 miles) wide. The ice sheet is so big it would stretch from Key West, Florida, to 100 miles beyond Portland, Maine, covering a swath as wide as from Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s 80 percent as big as the entire United States east of the Mississippi River. It’s not only huge, it’s also thick—an average of 2.3 kilometers (1.6 miles) thick. It contains roughly 8 percent of all of Earth’s fresh water.

1000205.petermann_glacier_panorama

Satellite Image of Cancun Mexico Yucatan

satellite image cancun mexicoWorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Cancun, Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula

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Cancun located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a major world-renowned tourist destination, as well as being the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, and is one of the easternmost points in Mexico. Cancún is located just north of Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort band known as the Riviera Maya.

Cancun is a tropical paradise that remains one of the world’s top tourist destinations. This comes as no surprise when you consider how much Cancun has to offer.

If you’re looking for a place with great weather, pumping nightlife, many accommodation options and some of the coolest activities in Mexico, Cancun is where you want to be.

Home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, Cancun is an ideal place for scuba diving and snorkeling. More information on Cancun, visit here.

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Satellite Image of Moore Oklahoma Tornado Damage

oklahoma-tornado-pre_post1(Left image) Pleiades-1A (0.5m) Satellite Image of Moore Oklahoma – Pre Tornado April 29, 2013

(Right image) WorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Moore Oklahoma Tornado Damage Post F5 Tornado Damage – May 22, 2013

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(Copyright © ASTRIUM, DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.)

The satellite image show the before and after tornado damage of a massive F5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday May 20th with winds exceeding 200 miles per hour, leaving a trail of destruction 17 miles long and 1.3 miles.

The estimated peak wind ranged from 200 to 210 mph, which would make it an EF5, the most powerful category for a tornado.

Taking innocent lives and leaving damages estimated to be over $2 billion, making this storm the most expensive in the state’s history.

oklahoma tornado mosaic

Satellite Image Mosaic – Path of Destruction of F5 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma May 22, 2013

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Satellite Image of Cabo San Lucas

satellite image cabo san lucasQuickBird (0.6m) Satellite Image of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

Cabo San Lucas is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

As of the 2010 Censo General de Población y Vivienda, the population was 68,463. It is the third-largest city in Baja California Sur after La Paz and San José del Cabo. It has experienced very rapid growth and development. Cabo San Lucas together with San José Del Cabo is known as Los Cabos.

Cabo is known for its beaches, scuba diving locations, balnearios, the sea arch El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, and marine life. The Los Cabos Corridor has become a heavily-trafficked holiday destination for tourists, with numerous resorts and timeshares along the coast between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. More about Cabo San Lucas…

Cabo_San_Lucas_bay

Satellite Image of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

satellite image great barrier reefWorldview-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

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Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space in the above satellite image from the Worldview-2 satellite and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland.

A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish. According to a study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985. Read more on the Great Barrier Reef.

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great barrier reefImage credit: Qualia

Earth Observation Satellites 1957 to the Present

Earth observation satellites are used to map and monitor our planet’s resources and ever-changing chemical life cycles. They follow sun-synchronous, polar orbits. Under constant, consistent illumination from the sun, they take images in different colors of visible light and non-visible radiation. Computers on Earth combine and analyze the pictures. Scientists use Earth observing satellites to locate mineral deposits, to determine the location and size of freshwater supplies, to identify sources of pollution and study its effects, and to detect the spread of disease in crops and forests.

History

In 1955, the United States and the Soviet Union announced plans to launch artificial satellites. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite. It circled Earth once every 96 minutes and transmitted radio signals that could be received on Earth. On November 3, 1957, the Soviets launched a second satellite, Sputnik 2. It carried a dog named Laika, the first animal to soar in space. The United States launched its first satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958, and its second, Vanguard 1, on March 17, 1958.

SputnikSPUTNIK 1 (1957)

In August 1960, the United States launched the first communications satellite, Echo I. This satellite reflected radio signals back to Earth. In April 1960, the first weather satellite, Tiros I, sent pictures of clouds to Earth. The U.S. Navy developed the first navigation satellites. The Transit 1B navigation satellite first orbited in April 1960. By 1965, more than 100 satellites were being placed in orbit each year.

Since the 1970’s, scientists have created new and more effective satellite instruments and have made use of computers and miniature electronic technology in satellite design and construction. In addition, more nations and private businesses have begun to purchase and operate satellites. By the early 2000’s, more than 40 countries owned satellites, and nearly 3,000 satellites were operating in orbit. For more information on Satellite Imaging Technology, visit here.