Archive for the ‘Blog Article’ Category

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #9: The Middle East

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Midday today (October 13, 2014) over the Middle East as seen by NASA MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite (click for full size version):

The Middle East as seen by the NASA MODIS instrument on October 13, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

The Middle East as seen by the NASA MODIS instrument on October 13, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.


Note the Anaam Agricultural Project in the lower right, near the Saudi Arabian/Jordan border, made up of many ~1 km diameter circular fields of irrigated crops.

NASA Satellite Shows Where Northeast Color Is

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

By request, here is this afternoon’s MODIS pass over the Northeast U.S. showing the regions of most widespread fall color. I have added highways in Google Earth for those who are planning a drive on the Columbus Day holiday (click on image for full size):

NASA MODIS image of the Northeast U.S on October 12, 2014.

NASA MODIS image of the Northeast U.S on October 12, 2014.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #8: Ireland

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

It’s a beautiful day in most of Ireland today, as seen by the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite (click for full size image):

Ireland on October 12, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite.

Ireland on October 12, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #7: Chicago and Lake Michigan

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Chicago and Lake Michigan are seen in this NASA MODIS image from yesterday, October 11, 2014 (click to enlarge):

NASA MODIS image of Chicago and Lake Michigan, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

NASA MODIS image of Chicago and Lake Michigan, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.


Most of the fall color is from the corn crop vegetative die off as the corn kernels ripen.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #6: Ice in the Greenland Sea

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Sea ice floes originating in the Arctic Ocean swirl in the currents off of the northeast coast of Greenland today (click for full size):

Ice swirls in currents off the northeast coast of Greenland (NASA Terra MODIS image, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth).

Ice swirls in currents off the northeast coast of Greenland (NASA Terra MODIS image, October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth).

The ice sheet of Greenland can no longer be distinguished from fresh snow which has fallen on what was bare ground only a few weeks ago along the coast.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #5: The Nile River Delta

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Here’s another satellite view from today, looking north across Egypt’s Nile River Delta and the eastern Mediterranean Sea (click for full size), imaged early afternoon October 11, 2014 by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite:

NASA MODIS image of the Nile Delta region on October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

NASA MODIS image of the Nile Delta region on October 11, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #4: The Caspian Sea

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Here’s a satellite view looking south across the Caspian Sea today, October 11, 2014, from the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite (click for full size):

The Caspian Sea on October 11, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, remapped into Google Earth.

The Caspian Sea on October 11, 2014, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite, remapped into Google Earth.


The Caspian Sea is the world largest enclosed inland water body, and is bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. It is one-fourth as salty as the ocean. Also seen is the Volga River.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #3: Korea

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Today’s satellite image from MODIS looks southwest across the Korean Peninsula, Japan and clouds from approaching Typhoon Vongfong in the distance (click for full size version):

NASA MODIS image of the Korean peninsula on October 11, 2014.

NASA MODIS image of the Korean peninsula on October 11, 2014.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #2: Northern India

Friday, October 10th, 2014

OK, here’s a bonus true-color satellite image from today (NASA Terra satellite, MODIS instrument, taken approximately 10:30 a.m. local time), looking northward from northern India across the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau (click for full-size version):

NASA Terra MODIS image of northern India, looking north, from October 10, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

NASA Terra MODIS image of northern India, looking north, from October 10, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

Dr. Roy’s Earth Today #1: South Australia

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Many years ago as a NASA employee I was asked if I wanted to be considered to fly on the Space Shuttle as a Payload Specialist to support an Earth Observation Mission instrument I was principal investigator on. I turned down being considered, and the mission was cancelled anyway (as were many others) after the Challenger disaster. I went on to work on NASA’s (unmanned) Mission to Planet Earth, while Fred Leslie from our group ended up flying on the Shuttle with his fluid dynamics experiment.

Fred was probably much more suited to flying in space than me, having jumped out of airplanes over 2,500 times (“in a row”, as he liked to say). He brought back home movies of living on the Shuttle, and he remarked on how three-dimensional the Earth looks from space. You just want to stare out the windows, but every minute of your time up there is scheduled with a variety of tasks and you don’t have the luxury.

Now, with a variety of Earth observation satellites on-orbit, near-realtime access to that data, and the amazing mapping capabilities of Google Earth, we can create images of the Earth on a daily basis, from viewing perspectives as if we are flying in space. I thought I would provide some of these for your enjoyment, the locations chosen mostly based upon their beauty.

This is South Australia today, looking south toward Antarctica. Since it’s one of the few places on Earth that has “Spencer” on the map (Spencer Gulf), I thought I’d start my “Dr. Roy’s Earth Today” series there (click for full-size version):

Aqua MODIS image of South Australia on October 10, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

Aqua MODIS image of South Australia on October 10, 2014, remapped into Google Earth.

I spent three weeks in Townsville, Australia in January 1993 supporting NASA’s portion of the TOGA-COARE field experiment. I had a specially designed microwave radiometer we were flying over thunderstorms in the NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft, a modified U2. The experiment was a replacement for the cancelled Space Shuttle mission.

For those who have never been there before, Australia is an amazing and exotic place. Rain forests next to deserts. Giant lizards, giant bats, and giant mice (called “roos”) that can walk on their hind legs. I remember never being able to get my bearings because the sun was always in the wrong part of the sky, and walking through a pouring rain at night without a cloud in the star-filled sky.