Hyperion Animation (30 MB)
The Hyperion instrument aboard NASA's EO-1 satellite sees the Earth from space in a new way. Instead of detecting light in only 3or even 30wavelengths, it detects 220 distinct wavelengths of light. So many, in fact, that it observes a virtually continuous spectrum of light from .4 µm (blue) to 2.5 µm (mid-infrared). The image above shows a true-color Hyperion image of Argentina (composed of red, green, and blue channels). Superimposed on the image is the spectrum of light reflected from the area highlighted in orange (white line). Compare that to the spectrum of water (blue line), vegetation (green line), and fallow land (yellow line). Known as hyperspectral data, Hyperion's measurements will enable scientists to distinguish different types of surface featuresnot only vegetation from water, but also soybeans from corn, pine trees from oaks, and sand from dust.
Image and animation courtesy Tom Bridgman, Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio, based on data from the EO-1 science team.