18 Mar 2014

Earth’s landscape from space

As satellites orbit our planet, they are constantly casting an eye upon us, snapping image after image of how the landscape below is changing.

Nasa has a large collection of these images, which are frequently updated and available to view on its Earth Observation website.

In the past week, there have been some particularly striking images, so I thought I’d pull some of them together in a blog and share them with you. 

Bowknot Bend

The intricate image below shows a section of the Green canyon in eastern Utah, known as the Bowknot Bend because of the way it doubles back on itself.


Captured from the International Space Station, the Green river appears dark because it sits in deep shadow, 300 metres below the surrounding landscape.

The sunlight catching the yellow-tinged cliffs enhance the appearance of the steep canyon walls, giving a stark contrast to the river below.

Californian solar plant

The image below shows the Ivanpah solar electric generation plant in California. Three towers surround arrays of mirrors – 170,000 of them – just outside the Mojave National Preserve.


Covering 3,500 acres of public land, the solar power unit harvests solar energy from a location that has 330 to 350 sunny days each year.

Californian Haze

As the International Space Station passed over California, it was greeted by a film of white across the southern part of the state’s Central Valley, as seen in the image below.


High pressure over the state at the time meant that air at the surface had become stagnant and polluted – giving the hazing conditions.

Niger river delta at night

The image below, taken of the Niger river delta at night, shows gas flares outshining everything else in the area – including city lights.


Nigeria has around 10 per cent of the world’s gas flares and is Africa’s largest oil producer.

Gas flares happen here often because oil production facilities lack the infrastructure to capture and process the natural gas that comes out of oil wells.

Ice stringers in Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan below, captured by the International Space Station, shows the geometric pattern of snow-covered fields on Washington Island.


Ice on the lake forms more quickly close to land in the shallower waters, as land masses cool more quickly than bodies of water.

On the day that this photo was taken, the wind was blowing ice out onto the lake, forming these long, coherent stringers.

Images: Nasa

Tweets by @liamdutton

One reader comment

  1. monica mills says:

    Shows a better hand than ‘mans’ i believe….

Comments are closed.