A Dry Lake Hamun Means More Dust Storms
Image of the Day Feb 7, 2023

A Dry Lake Hamun Means More Dust Storms

When the seasonal lake and wetlands in the Sistan Basin dry out, dust often fills the sky.
Landslide Creeping Below an African City
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Landslide Creeping Below an African City

A large, slow-moving landslide is accelerating in eastern Congo, putting a community at risk.

Published Feb 6, 2023

Image of the Day Land Water Human Presence Remote Sensing

Siling Lake
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Siling Lake

One of the largest water bodies on the Tibetan Plateau has been growing even larger in recent decades.

Published Feb 5, 2023

Image of the Day Snow and Ice

Quirimbas Islands
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Quirimbas Islands

Skirting the coastline of Mozambique, these 32 small islands are home to a diversity of corals and sea turtles.

Published Feb 4, 2023

Image of the Day Life Water

Ex-cell-ent Clouds off Chile’s Coast
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Ex-cell-ent Clouds off Chile’s Coast

Satellites have exposed the impressive coverage of marine stratocumulus clouds as well as their compelling shapes and patterns.

Published Feb 3, 2023

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water Remote Sensing

Sichuan’s Smoggy Basin
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Sichuan’s Smoggy Basin

The waters of an ancient lake once pooled in this basin in southwestern China. Now haze and air pollution do the same.

Published Feb 2, 2023

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Remote Sensing

Wintry Dunes on Earth and Mars
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Wintry Dunes on Earth and Mars

Dunes on both planets occasionally get blanketed with ice and snow—except on Earth the white stuff is frozen water and on Mars it’s often frozen carbon dioxide.

Published Jan 31, 2023

Image of the Day Land Snow and Ice Remote Sensing

Chile’s Villarrica Sputters
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Chile’s Villarrica Sputters

An astronaut on the International Space Station captured this photograph of minor explosions from one of Chile’s most active volcanoes.

Published Jan 30, 2023

Image of the Day Land

Eighty Mile Beach
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Eighty Mile Beach

This stretch of coastline in Western Australia is a popular recreational site for people and an important stopover site for migratory birds.

Published Jan 29, 2023

Image of the Day Land Water

Shrinking Lake Abert
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Shrinking Lake Abert

As the lake in southern Oregon dries up, the remaining water is becoming too salty to support key food sources for birds.

Published Jan 27, 2023

Image of the Day Land Water

Sea Surface Temperature
Global Maps Jul 2002 — Oct 2022

Sea Surface Temperature

Ocean temperatures can influence weather, such as hurricane formation, and climate patterns, such as El Niño. These maps show the temperature at the surface of the world’s seas and oceans.

Heat Water

G-LiHT Goes to Alaska
Notes from the Field

G-LiHT Goes to Alaska

In summer 2022, the G-LiHT team made flights from Kodiak and Anchorage with an airborne instrument designed to map forested landscapes.

Published Jan 26, 2023

Earth at Night
Article

Earth at Night

Satellite images of Earth at night have been a curiosity for the public and a tool of fundamental research for at least 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness.

Published Apr 12, 2017

Atmosphere Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Midwest Farmers Using Cover Crops Take Small Yield Hit
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Midwest Farmers Using Cover Crops Take Small Yield Hit

Although cover crops have significant environmental benefits, researchers found that they hinder yields on corn and soybean fields.

Published Jan 26, 2023

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Mission: Biomes
Article

Mission: Biomes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a different part of the world? What would the weather be like? What kinds of animals would you see? Which plants live there? By investigating these questions, you are learning about biomes.

Published Aug 28, 2020

Land Life

Blue Marble Next Generation
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Blue Marble Next Generation

12 months of high-resolution global true color satellite imagery.

Published Oct 13, 2005

Atmosphere Land Water Snow and Ice

Antarctic Iceberg on the Move
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Antarctic Iceberg on the Move

After breaking from the Brunt Ice Shelf, Iceberg A-81 and other pieces of ice drift south with the Weddell Gyre.

Published Jan 25, 2023

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Snow and Ice

Cloud Fraction
Global Maps Feb 2000 — Nov 2022

Cloud Fraction

In addition to making rain and snow, clouds can have a warming or cooling influence depending on their altitude, type, and when they form. These maps show what fraction of an area was cloudy each month.

Atmosphere

January Puzzler
Earth Matters

January Puzzler

Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us where it is, what we are looking at, and why it is interesting.

Published Jan 24, 2023

Winter from the International Space Station
Article

Winter from the International Space Station

Over the years, astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory have snapped spectacular photographs of Earth’s snow and ice in both hemispheres.

Published Dec 21, 2022

Snow and Ice

How to Interpret a Satellite Image: Five Tips and Strategies
Article

How to Interpret a Satellite Image: Five Tips and Strategies

What do you do when presented with a new satellite image? Here's what the Earth Observatory team does to understand the view.

Published Nov 18, 2013

Remote Sensing

Chlorophyll
Global Maps Jul 2002 — Sep 2022

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is used by algae and other phytoplankton--the grass of the sea--to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars. These maps show chlorophyll concentrations in the ocean, revealing where phytoplankton are thriving.

Life Water

EO On This Day
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EO On This Day

In honor of our site anniversary, we offer a selection of some of the most beautiful, newsworthy, interesting, and scientifically important images from 23 years online — one image for each day of the calendar year.

Published Apr 26, 2022

Atmosphere Heat Land Life Water Snow and Ice

Tournament Earth: Elemental Edition—Finals
Article

Tournament Earth: Elemental Edition—Finals

For the third time in a decade, the winner hails from the Canary Islands.

Published Mar 1, 2022

Human Presence Remote Sensing

Vegetation
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Dec 2022

Vegetation

Greenness is an important indicator of health for forests, grasslands, and farms. The greenness of a landscape, or vegetation index, depends on the number and type of plants, how leafy they are, and how healthy they are.

Land Life

Fall Colors Around the Planet
Article

Fall Colors Around the Planet

As green chlorophyll fades from trees and plants each autumn, other pigments color Earth’s landscapes. Satellites take leaf-peeping to a whole new level.

Published Oct 26, 2021

Land Life

Net Primary Productivity
Global Maps Feb 2000 — Nov 2016

Net Primary Productivity

These maps show the ‘metabolism” of Earth’s plants and trees. Net primary productivity is the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis minus the amount released by respiration.

Land Life

NASA Earth Observatory Goes to the Beach
Article

NASA Earth Observatory Goes to the Beach

Summer is beach season in the northern hemisphere. But even if you're a regular at your local swimming hole, you probably haven't seen too many beaches from this perspective. See the satellite and space-station views of various shorelines from across the United States. No sunblock necessary.

Published Jul 22, 2021

Land Videos

Snow Cover
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Dec 2022

Snow Cover

Snow and ice influence climate by reflecting sunlight back into space. When it melts, snow is a source of water for drinking and vegetation; too much snowmelt can lead to floods. These maps show average snow cover by month.

Snow and Ice

A Celebration of Clouds: From Space, Earth Has an Elegant Atmosphere
Article

A Celebration of Clouds: From Space, Earth Has an Elegant Atmosphere

Clouds can be a nuisance when scientists are trying to observe features on Earth's surface. But at other times, clouds are exactly what they want to see. These images highlight some of the more unusual and beautiful clouds observed in recent years from space.

Published Jun 21, 2021

Atmosphere Remote Sensing

World of Change
Article

World of Change

NASA satellites document how our world—forests, oceans, human landscapes, even the Sun—changes over months, seasons, and years.

Published Apr 29, 2009

Atmosphere Heat Land Life Human Presence Snow and Ice