NASA released new images of Earth “Blue Marble”

On February 2, 2012, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration United States (NASA) has released new photographs of Earth taken from space, a captured image on January 23, 2012. The photo of the globe is more known as the “Blue Marble”. Photos of the earth it is a recent photo with a sharpest resolution ever made.

Blue Marble Eastern Hemisphere 2012
Blue Marble Eastern Hemisphere 2012

In the new picture, the image of Earth was cut by four vertical lines which are produced by sunlight being refracted by the ocean. Photo of Earth that showed the image of eastern hemisphere is the second Blue Marble photograph, after Goddard Space Flight Center released the image of the western hemisphere in the previous week.

Blue Marble is the result of observation of the new Earth observation satellite owned by NASA, whose task was to collect data, for short-term weather prediction and climate models. Of data transmitted by satellite Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP), NASA scientists combine multiple image mosaics into an image of Earth as a whole, with high resolution. One of the scientists that contributed to combine separate images are Norman Kuring.

The process of taking pictures to get accurate results require specialized scientific calculations. To create the picture, Suomi NPP satellite taking photos of Earth from a distance of 824 kilometers from the Earth’s polar orbit, the trajectory that passes through the North Pole and South Pole. Although the satellite orbit is very high but not enough to take the image of the Earth, in a single frame cameras only.

Norman Kuring explained that in order for the image appear as a whole planet, NASA scientists combined observations of Suomi NPP against a swath of the planet, taken in six different orbits with periods of 8 hours. The data is then combined into a mosaic whole, the result is an image of the Earth.

Suomi NPP satellite
Suomi NPP satellite
Image capture system of Earth
Image capture system of Earth

Suomi NPP satellite emits 4 terabytes of data to Earth each day. Data in the form of photographs of Earth as it is sufficient to meet 800 DVDs. Photo of Blue Marble that really clear result comes from the instrument visible infrared radiometer imaging suite (VIIRS) which is attached to the Suomi NPP satellite. This high-resolution sensor package was designed to observe the Earth in a variety of different light spectra. When the orbit, the satellite take some parts of the Earth photos in 3,001 miles wide.

VIIRS instrument is the largest and most important tool of the five instruments carried by satellites Soumi NPP. Instrument designed to measure ocean color, surface temperature, fire on Earth, the cloud distribution and the number of aerosol particles in the atmosphere.

Satellites worth US$ 1.5 billion was launched from Earth in October 2011, on a mission to monitor weather and natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, forest fires and floods. Photo of Blue Marble is really just a byproduct which is obtained from the scientific mission.

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