Thursday, May 17, 2012

Science: 121-megapixel image of Earth most detailed yet

There's been a long history of NASA images of Earth, beginning with "Blue Marble." Now, we're getting a different perspective thanks to photos taken by the Elektro-L No.1 Russian weather satellite. Unlike previous NASA photos, the photos taken by Elektro-L are shot at a resolution of 121-megapixels from a distance that allows the Earth to be photographed in a single frame, rather than stitched together from a collection of shots taken over multiple passes. The result is the highest-resolution picture even taken of the planet Earth.

The coloring of the photo is different than photos taken in the past, as well, because the sensor aboard the satellite combines data from three visible and one infrared wavelengths of light.  The result is that the Earth's vegetation appears as the rust color you see covering the majority of North America.

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