Autumn Colors Arrive in Alaska

Autumn Colors Arrive in Alaska

A rare clear view of the state of Alaska reveals a beauty that is as spectacular from space as it is on the ground. On September 14, 2003, the clouds parted over the region, and showed the landscape already displaying fall color, although the official start of the season was a week away. The state is swathed in reddish browns, golds, and greens as summer’s lushness fades. Scattered across the landscape are several dark brown patches that mark the location of fire-scarred terrain.

In the upper left corner of the scene, the Yukon River flows down from the north as a bright green ribbon, emptying sediment and other organic matter into Norton Sound. Right of center, Cook Inlet is colored gray by fine glacial silt brought in by the Susitna River and its tributaries. Snow-covered mountain ranges, including the Alaska Range to the north, surround the Inlet. At bottom, to the right of center, is Kodiak Island.

This image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. The large image provided above shows a wider area in better detail; the scene extends all the way north to the Brooks Range and Alaksa’s Northern Slope and southward along several hundred kilometers of the Alaska Peninsula.

The high-resolution image provided above is 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image in even higher detail at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution of 250 meters.

Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC