Hurricane Isaac at Night
NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite captured this nighttime view of Hurricane Isaac on August 29, 2012. It was taken after the storm made landfall in southeastern Louisiana. The city lights show how people are distributed near the gulf coast.
Satellites have continuously monitored Arctic sea ice since 1979. Over the course of a year, the area covered by the ice changes. The ice melts down to its minimum every summer and builds back up again during the winter. Over the last three decades, scientists have observed a decline per decade of the minimum area and thickness of the sea ice.
2012 Summer Olympic Stadium
This high-resolution image was taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite on August 3, 2011. It reveals construction progress on London's 2012 Olympic Stadium. London and the United Kingdom hosted the 2012 summer Olympic Games, the world's largest sporting event. It featured 302 events in 26 sports and covered 39 disciplines. The Olympic Stadium can accommodate about 80,000 visitors, making it the third largest stadium in Britain. The Opening Ceremony (July 27th) and Closing Ceremony (August 12) were both held at the Olympic Stadium.
A six-year NASA mission, IceBridge is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice. Since 2009, these flights have provided a three-dimensional look at the rapidly changing Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice.
Little Bear Fire
On June 4, 2012, lightning ignited the Little Bear Fire in New Mexico's Lincoln National Forest. Ten days later, 40 percent of the fire was contained, but it had consumed over 37,000 acres. NASA's Earth Observing -1 (EO-1) satellite captured the true-color (left) and false-color (right) images of the fire on June 12. In the false-color view, vegetation is bright green, while sparsely vegetated or bare land is green-yellow. The burn scar appears in shades of red. Places where the fire is actively burning are orange-red. Light gray smoke from the fire is only visible in the true-color image, but white clouds can be seen in both.
Located on Bougainville island, Bagana is one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea. It emits volcanic gases and thick lava flows frequently. Since the volcano is far from civilization, and hard to reach due to the rugged terrain, satellites provide the only reliable way to monitor its activity.
East African Rift Valley
One of the great tectonic features of Africa, the East African Rift is caused by the fracturing and pulling apart of the Earth's crust. An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured this view of the rift's eastern branch near Kenya's southern border. The floor of the valley is covered by many nearly parallel fault lines. The diagram (inset) shows how the landscape developed.
Arctic Sea Ice
Satellites have continuously monitored Arctic sea ice since 1979. In recent years, scientists have noticed a rapid decline of the perennial ice cover. Perennial ice, which persists over multiple years, is the oldest and thickest sea ice.
Up the East Coast of North America
The video was created using images taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station on January 29, 2012. This nighttime pass starts just southwest of Mexico, sweeps over the east coast of the United States, and ends to the northeast of Newfoundland. The points of light, from towns and cities, show how people are distributed. The northern lights (greenish glow) dance in the upper atmosphere as the pass finishes near Newfoundland. Also known as aurora borealis, this colorful phenomenon is caused by high-energy particles from the Sun colliding with the Earth's magnetic field.
Afghanistan Dust Storm-
This sequence of images shows a cloud of dust being blown from southern Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. Strong winds from the north picked up the dust from the dry lakebeds in the Hamun wetlands. Dust storms can occur any time in Afghanistan. On average, the country experiences blowing dust one to two days per month in the winter and six days per month at the height of summer. NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites captured these images.
Images courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA/GSFC