Archive for the ‘EO’s Satellite Puzzler’ Category

Earth Week Puzzler #4

April 25th, 2013 by Adam Voiland

eo_puzzler_14

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. In celebration of Earth Month 2013, we’re upping the ante. We are going to release a new puzzler image every day this week.  The fourth image is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting. We’ll post the answer to all five puzzlers at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, April 26. 

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 200 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prizes, but we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Later this week when we post annotated and captioned versions of the puzzler images as our Image of the Day, we will acknowledge the people who were first to correctly ID the images. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, look at this week as a new challenge — can you get all five image locations?

Good luck!

Earth Week Puzzler #3

April 24th, 2013 by Adam Voiland

eo_puzzler_13

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. In celebration of Earth Month 2013, we’re upping the ante. We are going to release a new puzzler image every day this week.  The third image is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting. We’ll post the answer to all five puzzlers at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, April 26. 

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 200 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prizes, but we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Later this week when we post annotated and captioned versions of the puzzler images as our Image of the Day, we will acknowledge the people who were first to correctly ID the images. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, look at this week as a new challenge — can you get all five image locations?

Good luck!

Earth Week Puzzler #2

April 23rd, 2013 by Adam Voiland

eo_puzzler_12

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. In celebration of Earth Month 2013, we’re upping the ante. We are going to release a new puzzler image every day this week.  The second image is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting. We’ll post the answer to all five puzzlers at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, April 26. 

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 200 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prizes, but we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Later this week when we post annotated and captioned versions of the puzzler images as our Image of the Day, we will acknowledge the people who were first to correctly ID the images. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, look at this week as a new challenge — can you get all five image locations?

Good luck!

Earth Week Puzzler #1

April 22nd, 2013 by Adam Voiland

IDL TIFF file

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. In celebration of Earth Month 2013, we’re upping the ante. We are going to release a new puzzler image every day this week.  The first image is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting. We’ll post the answer to all five puzzlers at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, April 26. 

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 200 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prizes, but we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Later this week when we post annotated and captioned versions of the puzzler images as our Image of the Day, we will acknowledge the people who were first to correctly ID the images. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, look at this week as a new challenge — can you get all five image locations?

Good luck!

March Puzzler

March 18th, 2013 by Adam Voiland

eo_puzzler_10

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The tenth puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we are looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting.

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 300 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prize money for being the first to respond or for digging up the most interesting kernels of information. But, we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Roughly one week after a puzzler image appears on this blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. In the credits, we’ll acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID the image. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, please sit on your hands for at least a few days to give others a chance to play.

February Puzzler

February 12th, 2013 by Mike Carlowicz

Each month, Earth Observatory offers up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The ninth puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what part of the world we’re looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting.

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Try to keep it shorter than 300 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what spectral bands were used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure speck in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prize money for being the first to respond or for digging up the most interesting kernels of information. But, we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Roughly one week after a puzzler image appears on this blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. In the credits, we’ll acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID the image. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, please sit on your hands for at least a few days to give others a chance to play.

You can read more about the origins of the satellite puzzler here. Good luck!

January Puzzler Answer: Royal Gardens subdivision

January 25th, 2013 by Adam Voiland

We thought the January puzzler would be tough, but it sure didn’t take Ron Schott long to solve it.  We posted the puzzler at 12:56 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time on January 21; a mere hour-and-thirty-four minutes later Ron posted the correct answer: the Royal Gardens subdivision in Hawaii. (Jeesh, Ron, don’t you sleep?)  Ron is a professor of geology at Bakersfield College and a veteran of Where on Google Earth (WOGE), so we’re not particularly surprised he was so quick.  WOGE even has a rule named after him.  The “Schott Rule” states that you have to wait an hour for each win you have before posting. For now, we’re going to go with something slightly simpler for the puzzler: if you’ve won in the past, please wait a day before answering.

You can read more about what the puzzler image showed in Saturday’s Image of the Day.  Plus, special for the blog, see the video above of Jack Thompson evacuating Royal Gardens just prior to lava flowing over his property.

January Puzzler

January 21st, 2013 by Adam Voiland

Every month, NASA Earth Observatory will offer up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The eighth puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section below to tell us what part of the world we’re looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting.

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Just try to keep it shorter than 300-400 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what bands were used to create it, and what’s interesting about the geologic history of some obscure speck of color in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy about a scene, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prize money for being the first to respond or for digging up the most interesting kernels of information. But, we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Roughly one week after a “mystery image” appears on the blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. In the credits, we’ll acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID an image. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, please sit on your hands for at least a few days to give others a chance to play.

You can read more about the origins of the satellite puzzler here. Good luck!

December Puzzler Answer

December 24th, 2012 by Adam Voiland

Congratulations to Alan for being our first reader to work out that the December puzzler showed an area near the Flat Tops in northwestern Colorado. Alan recognized that the treeless regions in the lower right were plateaus and pinpointed the location on December 19, even pointing out Devils Causeway. Meanwhile, other puzzler players — notably Angie Connelly and Bill Butler — weighed in with interesting details about the type of rock (basalt) that makes up the plateau and the impact that a recent fire had on vegetation in the area.

It’s worth noting that the image does not show the Great Wall of China, which was the most common answer we received. It’s a popular myth that the Great Wall is one of only human-made structures visible from space. As this NASA story explained in 2005 and this Scientific American story detailed in 2008, the Great Wall is quite difficult for astronauts (either in orbit or on the moon) to see because there isn’t enough contrast between the color of the wall and the surrounding vegetation.

Sensors on Earth-observing satellites can detect the Great Wall more readily than the human eye, but it isn’t easy to distinguish the structure even in images from the higher-resolution sensors in NASA’s fleet. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra statellite, which has a 15-meter spatial resolution, acquired the image below of the wall in the winter of 2001. At the time, a low sun angle and light snow cover helped highlight a section of the wall in Shanxi Province.


Ronald Beck, a program information specialist for the Landsat program told Scientific American that the wall is visible to Landsat as well, but only under certain weather conditions. “We have satellite images where snow covers the fields near the wall and snow has been cleared on the wall, and that allows us to see the wall,” he said. “The key is contrast.”

Commercial satellites, operated by companies such as GeoEye, offer the clearest view of the Great Wall from space. A sensor with half-meter resolution on the GeoEye-1 satellite acquired the image below on June 20, 2009.  If you’re interested in seeing how sensors on  various Earth-observing satellites compare, here’s a useful list categorized by their spatial resolution.

On December 22, we published a caption that provides more details about the Flat Top mountain scene. In addition to being a location with noteworthy geology, the image shows the part of White River National Forest where park rangers harvested the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. The videos below explain more about how the tree was selected, transported, and decorated.

December Puzzler

December 17th, 2012 by Adam Voiland

Every month, NASA Earth Observatory will offer up a puzzling satellite image here on Earth Matters. The seventh puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section below to tell us what part of the world we’re looking at, when the image was acquired, and why the scene is interesting.

How to answer. Your answer can be a few words or several paragraphs. (Just try to keep it shorter than 300-400 words). You might simply tell us what part of the world an image shows. Or you can dig deeper and explain what satellite and instrument produced the image, what bands were used to create it, and what’s interesting about the geologic history of some obscure speck of color in the far corner of an image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy about a scene, tell us about it.

The prize. We can’t offer prize money for being the first to respond or for digging up the most interesting kernels of information. But, we can promise you credit and glory (well, maybe just credit). Roughly one week after a “mystery image” appears on the blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. In the credits, we’ll acknowledge the person who was first to correctly ID an image. We’ll also recognize people who offer the most interesting tidbits of information. Please include your preferred name or alias with your comment. If you work for an institution that you want us to recognize, please mention that as well.

Recent winners. If you’ve won the puzzler in the last few months, please sit on your hands for at least a few days to give others a chance to play.

You can read more about the origins of the satellite puzzler here. Good luck!