Quirimbas Islands
Image of the Day Feb 4, 2023

Quirimbas Islands

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

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

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

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

Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf Finally Breaks
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Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf Finally Breaks

A long-watched rift has spawned an iceberg about twice the size of New York City.

Published Jan 24, 2023

Image of the Day Unique Imagery Snow and Ice

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

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

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

Floodwater Reaches Australia’s Channel Country
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Floodwater Reaches Australia’s Channel Country

After several weeks of heavy rainfall in northern Queensland, the water has worked its way south.

Published Jan 23, 2023

Image of the Day Water Floods

Fire
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Dec 2022

Fire

Whether started by humans (farming, logging, or accidents) or by nature (lightning), fires are always burning somewhere on Earth. These maps show the locations of fires burning around the world each month.

Land

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

Mysteries Remain About Bahama Whiting Events
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Mysteries Remain About Bahama Whiting Events

Researchers used satellite imagery to reveal where and when the discolored patches of water appeared between 2003 and 2020 and found a puzzling temporary increase in events in some areas.

Published Jan 23, 2023

Image of the Day Water Remote Sensing

World’s Longest Conveyor Belt System
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World’s Longest Conveyor Belt System

The conveyor belt helps transport an essential agricultural fertilizer from the remote reaches of Western Sahara to farmlands across the world.

Published Jan 21, 2023

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

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
Article

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

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

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

Water Vapor
Global Maps Jul 2002 — Nov 2022

Water Vapor

These maps show the average amount of water vapor in a column of atmosphere by month. Water vapor is the key precursor for rain and snow and one of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Atmosphere

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

Blue Marble Next Generation
Article

Blue Marble Next Generation

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

Published Oct 13, 2005

Atmosphere Land 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

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

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

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly
Global Maps Jun 2002 — Sep 2011

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

These maps depict how much hotter or cooler an ocean basin was compared to the long-term average. Temperature anomalies can indicate changes in ocean circulation or the arrival of patterns like El Niño and La Niña.

Heat Water

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