satellite photo


Late last year British artist and designer INSA (previously featured here) travel to Rio de Janeiro to create his largest piece of gif-iti to date, so huge that it’s viewable from space and was photographed by a satellite in order to create this gif. It’s not just gif-iti, it’s Space GIF-ITI!

The 154,774 square foot mural was created in four stages by a team of twenty painters:

As each stage–or animation frame–was completed, it was photographed by a satellite. INSA’s Space GIF-ITI was part of the Stay True Stories project, which is sponsored by Ballantine’s, a Scottish whisky brand.

Click here to watch a behind-the-scenes video about INSA’s awesome Space Gif-iti.

[via Laughing Squid and Peta Pixel]

The Earth from Russia’s Elektro-L satellite

This image compilation, comprised of images taken by the Russian Elektro-L weather satellite, was taken from a geostationary orbit at a distance of 36,000 km. It shows the changing illumination of Earth as it rotated on the autumnal equinox and illustrate the concept of a geostationary orbit. At this height, the satellite is orbiting at fast as the earth is spinning and stays in the same location relative to the surface of earth.

Credit: Vitaliy Egorov


27 Stellar Photos Of Earth Taken From Space

1. USA

2. Northern Europe with Northern Lights in the distance

3. Southern Lights near Australia and Antarctica

4. Spain and Portugal at night

5. Montreal, Canada

6. Southwestern Europe

7. Cayman Islands

8. Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

9. Betsiboka River, Madagascar

10. Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

This awesome map shows what air traffic looks like from space

The European Space Agency has a satellite that keeps an eye on any aircraft entering European airspace and records information about how fast they’re traveling, where they are in space and at what altitude they’re flying. The neon green shows where planes were located over the six-month period. And there’s even more we’re not seeing.

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From National Geographic Week’s Best Space Pictures; September 4, 2015:

1) Can You Hear Me?

An Atlas V rocket launches a new tactical satellite into space from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday. The satellite should improve communications for U.S. military in the field.

2) Young'un

Hubble snaps a shot of globular cluster NGC 1783, one of the biggest such clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud. NGC 1783 is less than 1.5 billion years old, a mere babe considering that typical globular clusters are several billion years old.

3) Triple Threat?

Hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena swirl across this composite image taken on Tuesday. Two days prior, all three were category 4 hurricanes, the first time in recorded history three such storms appeared simultaneously in the Pacific.

4) Cold Blooms

Plant-like organisms called phytoplankton bloom in the nutrient-rich waters of the Barents Sea north of Norway. The blooms are so massive that their milky green hues can be seen from space.

5) Patchy Clouds

The Prawn nebula shines like never before in this image taken by the 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. Its decidedly patchwork appearance is due to clusters of hot, newborn stars that pockmark the nebula’s clouds.

6) Equinox

Cassini catches a view of Saturn 1.5 days after the equinox: the period when the sun shines directly on the planet’s equator. Since it takes about 30 years for Saturn to orbit the sun, an equinox happens about every 15 years.

7) Pastel Mars

Instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provided geological information on part of the Nili Fossae plain in the planet’s northern hemisphere. Carbonate-rich rocks are green, olivine is brown, and basalt is purple.


From NASA Earth Observatory Photo Of The Day; December 5, 2014:

The Sinuous Shenandoah

Meandering rivers are so commonplace that they are easy to ignore. But if you happen to fly over the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, you might catch a glimpse of a stretch of river that you won’t soon forget.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this view of the meanders on August 3, 2013. The top image shows a detailed view of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River near Woodstock, Virginia, where the river’s meanders are unusually sharp and tightly packed. In 48 miles (77 kilometers) of flow, the river travels only 16 miles (26 kilometers) as the crow flies. The lower image offers a broader view of the area. While the river’s winding pattern is most pronounced between Strasburg and Edinburg, the South Fork of the Shenandoah also takes a remarkably sinuous path as it flows toward Front Royal, Virginia.

How did the Shenandoah River get such a distinctive shape in this area? According to geologist Callan Bentley of Northern Virginia Community College, the modern landscape was sculpted by a series of geological processes spanning hundreds of millions of years.

The story begins some 500 million years ago during the Cambrian Period, when layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone were being built along the edge of an ancient predecessor of the continent we now call North America. The gradual deposition process that created the sedimentary rocks went on for 200 million years—a period about 1,000 times longer than modern Homo sapiens have existed as a species.

About 300 million years ago, Africa began a cataclysmic, slow-motion collision with North America that thrust those sandstone, shale, and limestone layers—which had been horizontal when they formed—into a complex mash of northeast-southwest trending folds and rugged mountain ridges. Geologists call this period of mountain-building the Alleghanian orogeny.

As the pressure forced mountain ridges up, rock layers were pressed so intensely that they cracked in many places. Hundreds of northwest-southeast fractures emerged perpendicular to the rising mountain ridges. As hundreds of millions of years passed, the rugged mountains that rose during the Alleghanian orogeny were eroded away by wind and water until the area was nearly flat once again.

Rivers need relatively gentle landscapes to meander, and it was in this period—sometime in the past 100 million years—that the Shenandoah River probably began to assume its modern meandering form. Rather than forming irregular meanders as most rivers do, the Shenandoah followed that pre-existing network of fractures in the bedrock formed during the Alleghanian orogeny. “The water simply found it easier to follow those fractures than to cut down into unfractured bedrock, particularly in the shale and clay-rich sandstone northwest of the Massanutten mountain system,” explained Bentley.

While the same processes occurred on the South Fork, the meanders are less pronounced, perhaps because there are fewer fractures on that side of the ridge. “Later on, when the modern Appalachian Mountains were uplifted or the river’s base level dropped—or both—the river began to cut down anew, and the meanders we see today became ‘locked in place’ along the fracture set,” Bentley said.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Michael Taylor and Adam Voiland, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey; Caption by Adam Voiland; Instrument(s): Landsat 8 - OLI

The English Channel (La Manche)

This is a tribute to Nick Thomas, who very sadly died attempting to swim the Channel at the weekend. He was pulled unconscious from the sea less than a mile short of the French shore. He had been swimming for about 16 hours.

It is a huge undertaking. The shortest distance from England to France is 21 miles, and it crosses two busy shipping lanes. Swimmers have to be mentally tough and battle tides, the cold, jellyfish, seasickness and, no doubt, their inner demons.

The first crossing was by steamship captain Matthew Webb in 1875. Since then only about 1620 swimmers have succeeded in completing solo crossings.

The rules of the Channel Swimming Association are strict - one swimsuit (which must be sleeveless and legless), goggles, one cap, ear plugs and nose clip are the only items that may be worn. Neither the cap nor the costume are allowed to offer any extra thermal protection or buoyancy. Wetsuits are expressly forbidden. Swimmers are allowed to use grease, but this is more for chafing than warmth.

The summer water temperature varies between 15C (59F) and 18C (65F) and the average crossing time is just over thirteen and a half hours. That takes some doing.

Some might think it’s nuts, but I greatly admire Channel swimmers. Matthew Webb was probably my first childhood hero.


From National Geographic Week’s Best Space Pictures; August 28, 2015:

1) Death Throes

The two stars at the center of the Twin Jet Nebula are dying. The smaller of the two is already a white dwarf, and its orbit around its partner is pulling gas ejected from the larger star into the two lobes pictured.

2) Backlit

Plumes of icy material jetting from Enceladus’ south pole are backlit by sunlight in this image taken by the Cassini orbiter. Reflected light from Saturn illuminates the moon’s right side, while sunlight bathes Enceladus’ left flank.

3) Seeing Red

Cotopaxi, an Ecuadorian volcano, erupted last week after lying dormant for 70 years. A thermal imaging instrument on a NASA satellite captured the ash plume (gray) emanating from the volcano (center, right). Vegetation is shown in red.

4) Raging Wildfires

Thirty-six wildfires are burning out of control around Russia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake. This satellite image shows the northern area of the lake shrouded in smoke from the fires.

5) Reopening

The Drakelands mine (upper right) in England originally opened in 1867 as a tin and tungsten mine. It closed in 1944, but work started last year to reopen the mine since it holds the world’s fourth largest tungsten and tin deposits.

6) Phoenix

A faded electron cloud has come back to life due to the collision of two galaxy clusters 1.6 billion light-years from Earth. It’s called a radio phoenix (bright horizontal splotch, center) because the cloud emits energy at radio frequencies.