fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

To continue the trend of photos of unreasonable size

The American GOES-14 satellite has an imager which produces full-disc images of Earth at roughly one-kilometre resolution.

It's over the Galapagos islands at the moment (they are conveniently located at 90 degrees west on the equator), so the image shows all of North and South America, much of the north Atlantic and a fair chunk of the south Pacific. I don't know if they'll be releasing full-size images routinely; I think the satellite is being tested at the moment and will then be moved fifteen degrees further West and kept as a spare for when GOES-10 runs out of fuel in January.

Full resolution (110MB!) (12837 * 12332 pixels!); Quarter resolution (3209 * 3083 pixels, 1.8MB); about three times the size of the screen in each direction.

It's a scale at which you can most easily tell the planet is inhabited because the flights out of San Francisco provide nucleation trails which have turned into lines of cloud in the mist; it's a scale on which the major feature of Earth is the water cycle. If you peer at the full-resolution image, Buenos Aires is a slight brightening in the grey scale.

The diversity of shapes of tropical clouds is just awesome. The full-resolution version has some gorgeous paisley vortex trails from islands just west of Baja California (see the picture on the left); even in the low-resolution one you can see, at the bottom just left of centre, thunderheads rising up and casting shadows in the oblique light.

The most surreal Earth view is here; it's a wavelength emitted by water vapour. Play the 24-hour animation, and watch the little white cotton-wool puffs which are tropical thunderstorms of the most spectacular kind.
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