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EO On This Day

Since its creation in late April 1999, NASA Earth Observatory has published more than 15,000 image-driven stories about our planet: natural- and false-color satellite images, data maps, and aerial or space-based photos. In honor of our 20th anniversary, we offer a selection of some of the most beautiful, newsworthy, interesting, and scientifically important images from the past 20 years — one for each day of the calendar year. Check this page each day for a new blast from EO’s past.

Looking Beyond the Visible

Looking Beyond the Visible

Published Jul 19, 2013

By using satellite sensors that detect infrared radiation, scientists have started to map the mineralogy of debris on glaciers.

Explore Other Days in EO History

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

July

Smoke Goes Around the World
Image

Smoke Goes Around the World

Wildfires in Alaska and Canada send smoke plumes wafting in opposite directions around the Northern Hemisphere.

Published Jul 18, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Drought Grips the United States
Image

Drought Grips the United States

In a dry spell of historic proportions, more than half of the country faced severe or moderate drought.

Published Jul 17, 2012

Image of the Day Heat Land Life Drought

Apollo 11 Launch Pad
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Apollo 11 Launch Pad

By launching from the east coast of Florida, NASA took advantage of both geography and physics.

Published Jul 16, 2009

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Jakobshavn Glacier Retreat
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Jakobshavn Glacier Retreat

Acquired in 2001 and 2010, these natural-color images show substantial retreat in the Jakobshavn Glacier.

Published Jul 15, 2010

Image of the Day Land Snow and Ice

Eruption of Raung Volcano
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Eruption of Raung Volcano

One of the most active volcanoes on the Indonesian island of Java spewed fresh ash and gases in early July 2015.

Published Jul 14, 2015

Image of the Day Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Palm Island Resort
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Palm Island Resort

The Islands were constructed on reclaimed land off of Dubai’s Persian Gulf coast.

Published Jul 13, 2003

Image of the Day Land Water

Wildfires in Siberia
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Wildfires in Siberia

Thick smoke billowed from fires in Yakutia on July 10, 2012.

Published Jul 12, 2012

Image of the Day Land

Brazilian Dune Fields
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Brazilian Dune Fields

Sand dunes sprawl along the coast of northeastern Brazil, sometimes extending kilometers inland.

Published Jul 11, 2010

Image of the Day Land

Elusive Sprite Captured from the International Space Station
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Elusive Sprite Captured from the International Space Station

Red sprites, short-lived flashes caused by intense lightning, are rarely captured on camera.

Published Jul 10, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Atlantis Rides Into History
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Atlantis Rides Into History

In July 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lit its rockets and roared into space for the 135th and last flight of the U.S. space transportation system.

Published Jul 9, 2011

Image of the Day Human Presence Remote Sensing

A Global Garden: Plants Storing Carbon
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A Global Garden: Plants Storing Carbon

By providing a measurement of all of the carbon being stored in Earth’s plants, maps like these help scientists figure out what happens to the carbon people release by burning fossil fuels.

Published Jul 8, 2011

Image of the Day Land Life Water

Alaska’s Biggest (Ice) Losers are Inland
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Alaska’s Biggest (Ice) Losers are Inland

Glaciers in a region of Alaska are losing about 75 billion tons of ice per year, but not all glaciers contribute equally.

Published Jul 7, 2015

Image of the Day Land Water Snow and Ice Remote Sensing

U.S. Climate: The New Normal
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U.S. Climate: The New Normal

These maps compare January minimum temperatures and July maximum temperatures in the U.S. Climate Normals, a 30-year frame of reference. The new normal reflects a warming world.

Published Jul 6, 2011

Image of the Day Heat Life

Eruption of Sarychev Peak, Kuril Islands
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Eruption of Sarychev Peak, Kuril Islands

A pair of before-and-after images shows how the June 2009 eruption of Sarychev Peak Volcano transformed Matua Island.

Published Jul 5, 2009

Image of the Day Volcanoes Remote Sensing

The Birthplace of the United States
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The Birthplace of the United States

It was here the founders shaped the future of American government.

Published Jul 4, 2017

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
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150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Modern remote sensing tools are helping to shed new light on the historic battle.

Published Jul 3, 2013

Image of the Day Land Unique Imagery Human Presence

The World’s Newest Capital City
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The World’s Newest Capital City

Juba, a port city on the White Nile, is the capital of the new nation of South Sudan and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Published Jul 2, 2012

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Yellowstone Recovers from 1988 Fires
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Yellowstone Recovers from 1988 Fires

In 1988, wildfires raced through Yellowstone National Park, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres. This series of Landsat images tracks the landscape’s slow recovery through 2008.

Published Jul 1, 2009

Image of the Day Land

June

First Complete Day from MODIS
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First Complete Day from MODIS

This image of Earth is a composite of the first full day of data gathered by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on the Terra spacecraft.

Published Jun 30, 2000

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Water

Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands
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Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands

On June 26, 2010, oil was visible in the waters surrounding Horn and Petit Bois Islands following the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Published Jun 29, 2010

Image of the Day Water Human Presence

Detailed Views of Erupting Nabro Volcano
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Detailed Views of Erupting Nabro Volcano

This pair of satellite images was among the first detailed pictures of the erupting vent and lava flows.

Published Jun 28, 2011

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes

Okavango Swamp, Botswana
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Okavango Swamp, Botswana

Sometimes called the Jewel of the Kalahari, the area is an enormous, pristine wetland that almost miraculously appears out of a desert.

Published Jun 27, 2011

Image of the Day Land

Astronaut View of Fires in Colorado
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Astronaut View of Fires in Colorado

The West Fork Complex fire was so hot that it spawned numerous pyrocumulus clouds.

Published Jun 26, 2013

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Fires

Polar Mesospheric Clouds, Northern Hemisphere
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Polar Mesospheric Clouds, Northern Hemisphere

“Night-shining” clouds form at high altitudes in late spring and early summer.

Published Jun 25, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Tornadoes Spawn near Deshler, Nebraska
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Tornadoes Spawn near Deshler, Nebraska

The image shows the tops of the thunderheads with their characteristic anvil clouds.

Published Jun 24, 2003

Image of the Day Atmosphere Severe Storms

Volcanoes, Clouds, and Swirling Winds
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Volcanoes, Clouds, and Swirling Winds

An image from the remote South Sandwich Islands shows how volcanic emissions can create clouds, while the islands themselves deform those clouds.

Published Jun 23, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere Heat

Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands
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Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands

A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station in 2009 offered the astronauts a striking view of the volcano in an early stage of eruption.

Published Jun 22, 2009

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes

Lake Eyre Filling Peaks
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Lake Eyre Filling Peaks

By mid-June 2009, the rare filling of this lake in Australia’s Simpson Desert appeared to have reached its peak.

Published Jun 21, 2009

Image of the Day Land Life

Todhia Arable Farm in Saudi Arabia
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Todhia Arable Farm in Saudi Arabia

Satellites can help farmers make the most of the limited water resources at a farm in the Arabian Desert.

Published Jun 20, 2015

Image of the Day Land Life Human Presence

Laguna Mellquina, Andes Mountains
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Laguna Mellquina, Andes Mountains

This depiction of an area south of San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina, was the first Shuttle Radar Topography Mission view of the tallest mountain chain in the western hemisphere.

Published Jun 19, 2001

Image of the Day Land

Ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle
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Ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle

This series of images tracks ash from a Chilean volcano that made a nearly complete circle around the world.

Published Jun 18, 2011

Image of the Day Atmosphere Volcanoes

Fogo, Cape Verde Islands
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Fogo, Cape Verde Islands

The volcano was almost continuously active from the 1500s until 1760.

Published Jun 17, 2009

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

A Monster Slide
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A Monster Slide

A landslide in eastern Tibet backed up the Yigong River for two months.

Published Jun 16, 2012

Image of the Day Land Remote Sensing

Tiny Shrimp, Big Changes
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Tiny Shrimp, Big Changes

Aquaculture along the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca shows the delicate balance between coastal development and conservation.

Published Jun 15, 2012

Image of the Day Land Life Water Human Presence

Sunset from the International Space Station
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Sunset from the International Space Station

Astronauts aboard the ISS see sixteen sunrises and sunsets per day.

Published Jun 14, 2010

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Lava Consumes Vacationland and Kapoho Bay
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Lava Consumes Vacationland and Kapoho Bay

Kilauea erupted enough lava to fill 45,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Published Jun 13, 2018

Image of the Day Land Water Volcanoes Human Presence Remote Sensing

A Measure of Salt
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A Measure of Salt

One year after its launch, the Aquarius instrument is giving ocean sciences its first global view of sea surface salinity.

Published Jun 12, 2012

Image of the Day Water

A Long Look at El Paso and Ciudad Juarez
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A Long Look at El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

When the Landsat archive is combined with modern computing power, scientists can view the planet not just across space, but also time.

Published Jun 11, 2013

Image of the Day Land Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing World of Change

Clouds and Global Warming
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Clouds and Global Warming

High, cold clouds radiate less thermal energy to space than low, warm clouds.

Published Jun 10, 2010

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Remembering a Monster Eruption
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Remembering a Monster Eruption

It was the largest eruption of the 20th century, but you've probably never heard of it.

Published Jun 9, 2012

Image of the Day Land

Remembering Yoram Kaufman
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Remembering Yoram Kaufman

Kaufman served as program manager for NASA’s Earth Observatory from its launch in April 1999, through January 2006.

Published Jun 8, 2006

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Viewing the Transit of Venus from Space
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Viewing the Transit of Venus from Space

For the first time in history, and the last time for a century, astronauts captured images of the planetary transit as viewed from orbit.

Published Jun 7, 2012

Image of the Day Heat

Canyonlands’ Grabens
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Canyonlands’ Grabens

Sinking blocks of rock created this distinctive network of valleys.

Published Jun 6, 2014

Image of the Day Land

Gross Primary Productivity
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Gross Primary Productivity

This map of plant photosynthesis was the first of its kind from the MODIS instrument, which was launched in December 1999 on the Terra spacecraft.

Published Jun 5, 2000

Image of the Day Land Life

Lay of the Land Between Old River and the Mississippi
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Lay of the Land Between Old River and the Mississippi

This model of the land elevation between the Mississippi, the Atchafalaya, and the Old River show the uphill fight to control river flow.

Published Jun 4, 2011

Image of the Day Land Floods Human Presence

Subsidence in New Orleans
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Subsidence in New Orleans

In the three-year period prior to Hurricane Katrina, the city subsided 8 millimeters per year relative to global mean sea level.

Published Jun 3, 2006

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Sulfur Dioxide Plume from Grímsvötn
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Sulfur Dioxide Plume from Grímsvötn

A NASA satellite caught this glimpse of a plume rising and drifting from the Icelandic volcano in May 2011.

Published Jun 2, 2011

Image of the Day Atmosphere Volcanoes

Zambezi Flood Plain, Namibia
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Zambezi Flood Plain, Namibia

Originating in swampy wetlands, the river tumbles over one of the world’s largest waterfalls, flows through deep gorges, and spreads across broad floodplains.

Published Jun 1, 2010

Image of the Day Land

May

City Lights at Night along the France-Italy Border
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City Lights at Night along the France-Italy Border

Moonglint and the lights of Torino, Lyon, and Marseille glitter in this nighttime astronaut photo of the Italy-France border region.

Published May 31, 2010

Image of the Day Human Presence

Landsat 7 Reveals Large-scale Fractal Motion of Clouds
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Landsat 7 Reveals Large-scale Fractal Motion of Clouds

Clouds off the Chilean coast show a unique pattern called a “von Karman vortex street.”

Published May 30, 2000

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water

Sichuan Landslides
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Sichuan Landslides

These images show changes in the landscape before and after an earthquake struck on May 12, 2008.

Published May 29, 2008

Image of the Day Land Volcanoes Earthquakes

Permafrost on Mars and Earth
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Permafrost on Mars and Earth

This pair of images shows the similarities between the surface of Mars and permafrost near Spitsbergen, Svalbard.

Published May 28, 2008

Image of the Day Land

Tierras Bajas Deforestation, Bolivia
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Tierras Bajas Deforestation, Bolivia

The area east of Santa Cruz was originally dry tropical forest.

Published May 27, 2001

Image of the Day Land Life

Arctic Amplification
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Arctic Amplification

Temperatures are warming faster in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. Here’s why.

Published May 26, 2013

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence

Nighttime Ash Tracking with CALIPSO
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Nighttime Ash Tracking with CALIPSO

A satellite records a vertical profile of the atmosphere and reveals the altitude of ash clouds.

Published May 25, 2010

Image of the Day Atmosphere Volcanoes

New Landsat Finds Clouds Hiding in Plain Sight
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New Landsat Finds Clouds Hiding in Plain Sight

One of LDCM’s sensors can detect faint cirrus clouds that can slightly alter a scene.

Published May 24, 2013

Image of the Day Atmosphere Drought Unique Imagery World of Change

Pavlof Volcano, Alaska Peninsula
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Pavlof Volcano, Alaska Peninsula

Three striking photographs of Pavlof Volcano reveal the three-dimensional structure of the eruption plume.

Published May 23, 2013

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes

Irrawaddy Delta, Burma
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Irrawaddy Delta, Burma

The clearing of the natural mangrove forests has left low-lying cropland and villages exposed to the sea.

Published May 22, 2008

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Lake Powell and The Rincon, Utah
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Lake Powell and The Rincon, Utah

Man and nature have both altered the course of a southwestern U.S. river.

Published May 21, 2012

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Driving Ban Lowers Beijing Pollution
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Driving Ban Lowers Beijing Pollution

In an effort to control smog during the 2008 Olympics, Beijing officials instituted a number of pollution-curbing measures.

Published May 20, 2007

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico
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Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Acquired May 17, 2010, this natural-color image shows the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico extending a long arm toward the southeast.

Published May 19, 2010

Image of the Day Water Human Presence

30th Anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens
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30th Anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

A trio of images documents the devastation and recovery of the landscape around Mt. St. Helens Volcano following its cataclysmic 1980 eruption.

Published May 18, 2010

Image of the Day Land Life

Changes to the Saemangeum Estuary, South Korea
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Changes to the Saemangeum Estuary, South Korea

Satellite imagery illustrates the beginning of a land reclamation project that will transform one of the largest tidal estuaries along the Yellow Sea into farmland and a fresh-water reservoir.

Published May 17, 2007

Image of the Day Land Life Water

Come Fly with Me
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Come Fly with Me

Fifty-six images were stitched together to present a seamless mosaic of what the newest Landsat saw on April 19, 2013. Here are some highlights of the satellite tour.

Published May 16, 2013

Image of the Day Land Water Unique Imagery Human Presence

El Gezira, Sudan
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El Gezira, Sudan

South of Khartoum, where the White and Blue Nile Rivers join, a dizzying arrangement of irrigated fields stretches out across the land.

Published May 15, 2008

Image of the Day Land Life

Ship Tracks in the Sky
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Ship Tracks in the Sky

In recent years, scientists have turned their attention to the ways in which human-produced aerosol pollution modifies clouds.

Published May 14, 2002

Image of the Day Atmosphere Water

Lake Powell, Utah
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Lake Powell, Utah

In the early twenty-first century, Lake Powell faced the combined threats of drought and rapid water withdrawals.

Published May 13, 2009

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Crop Circles in the Desert
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Crop Circles in the Desert

Over the course of 25 years, farms have sprouted in the Arabian Desert, fueled by deep and old groundwater.

Published May 12, 2012

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Los Alamos Fires From Landsat 7
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Los Alamos Fires From Landsat 7

On May 9, 2000, the Landsat 7 satellite acquired an image of the area around Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Published May 11, 2000

Image of the Day Land Human Presence

Ice Melting on Lake Baikal
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Ice Melting on Lake Baikal

People and satellites keep an eye on when ice on the world’s deepest lake melts each year.

Published May 10, 2012

Image of the Day Snow and Ice

A Rare Cyclone on the Equator
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A Rare Cyclone on the Equator

Storms like Typhoon Varmei are not supposed to happen.

Published May 9, 2003

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Cloudy Earth
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Cloudy Earth

Data collected by a sensor on the Aqua satellite reveals the global distribution of clouds.

Published May 8, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Malvinas Current, South America
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Malvinas Current, South America

This offshoot of the Circumpolar Current carries cool water north along the coast of South America until it encounters water pouring out of the Rio de la Plata.

Published May 7, 2005

Image of the Day Life Water

Flooding at the Junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
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Flooding at the Junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers

Floods blanket farmland around the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in this Landsat image from May 3, 2011.

Published May 6, 2011

Image of the Day Land Floods

The Shrinking Aral Sea
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The Shrinking Aral Sea

The sequence of images shows the dramatic changes to the Aral Sea between 1973 and 2000.

Published May 5, 2001

Image of the Day Land Water

Smoke from Fires in Central America Drifts over Texas
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Smoke from Fires in Central America Drifts over Texas

Smoke from fires in tropical Mexico and Central America drifted over the U.S. Gulf States.

Published May 4, 2002

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Fires

Connecting Islands in the Pacific
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Connecting Islands in the Pacific

The eruption of an undersea volcano gave rise to new real estate between two islands in the kingdom of Tonga.

Published May 3, 2015

Image of the Day Land Water

Finding the Hottest Spots on Earth by Satellite
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Finding the Hottest Spots on Earth by Satellite

The Sun heats not only the air around us, but the land we walk on. Scientists are interested in the difference between the two.

Published May 2, 2012

Image of the Day Heat Land

Height and Motion of the Chikurachki Eruption Plume
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Height and Motion of the Chikurachki Eruption Plume

Early data from the MISR instrument helps decipher the dynamics of the gas and ash emerging from a volcano.

Published May 1, 2003

Image of the Day Atmosphere Volcanoes

April

Plankton and Sulfur in the Benguela Current
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Plankton and Sulfur in the Benguela Current

Ocean currents and nutrient-rich waters conspire to create a boon for some ocean species and a dead zone for others.

Published Apr 30, 2014

Image of the Day Water

Low Pressure off Northern California Coast
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Low Pressure off Northern California Coast

The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) captured this view of a massive low pressure system in April 2003.

Published Apr 29, 2003

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Open- and Closed-Cell Clouds over the Pacific Ocean
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Open- and Closed-Cell Clouds over the Pacific Ocean

Acquired April 17, 2010, this natural-color image shows a network of open- and closed-cell clouds over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru.

Published Apr 28, 2010

Image of the Day Atmosphere

Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico
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Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico

Oil from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico created a silvery sheen on the water southeast of the Mississippi Delta on April 25, 2010.

Published Apr 27, 2010

Image of the Day Water Human Presence

Volcanoes near Usulután, El Salvador
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Volcanoes near Usulután, El Salvador

Differences in size and surface features reveal the histories of four adjacent volcanoes in El Salvador.

Published Apr 26, 2010

Image of the Day Land

A Rare Clear Day on Mount Washington
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A Rare Clear Day on Mount Washington

The tallest peaks in New England face some pretty nasty weather.

Published Apr 25, 2017

Image of the Day Land

Lake Sediment Plume in Northern Kazakhstan
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Lake Sediment Plume in Northern Kazakhstan

Winds occasionally loft fine sediments from the the shores of Ozero Siletiteniz into the air over the steppe.

Published Apr 24, 2012

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Dust and Haze World of Change