Views of the News
May 15, 2012 - Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper Ceases Routine Acquisitions
After a silent winter, the USGS turned on the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) in late April to determine the state of the electronics problem that suspended operations in November, 2011. Unfortunately, several alternate methods of acquisitions did not alleviate the problem, which severely limits any further acquisitions with the TM. Currently, the USGS plans to acquire only a handful of images over the next few weeks as we examine our options. Landsat 5 has a long and storied career, and the data collected are invaluable to the study of our Earth.
The Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) instrument on Landsat 5 has been reactivated and MSS data are being collected over the United States. The MSS data are being archived but processing and distribution of the data will not be possible until the USGS develops the necessary product generation capabilities.
The image above, acquired on April 25, 2012, shows the Missouri River as it flows between Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota, and continues past Mobridge, South Dakota.
May 7, 2012 - And the fastest-growing American city is...
Austin, Texas, according to Forbes.com. Austin was selected by Forbes as America's Fastest-Growing City for the second year in a row based on projections of economic and population growth, median income, unemployment rates, and employment growth. Since 1990 Austin's population has grown by 1 million, and is expected to grow 2.8 percent a year through 2016, almost triple the national rate. Situated on the Colorado River, Austin's most evident expansion is in the northern portion where new highways snake around the city to connect the growing suburbs, as seen in the Landsat 5 images above.
April 22, 2012 - Celebrating Earth Day - Satellites show the planet's ability to recover
On June 15, 1991, after months of seismic activity, Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines exploded with a violent force. The second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, Pinatubo spewed a tremendous amount of ash, which covered the surrounding forest. Millions of tons of sulfur dioxide were also injected into the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to drop for the next three years. The above Landsat 5 images show the Earth's resiliency as it heals itself after a major disaster. Satellite images like these are critical tools in helping scientists monitor vegetation recovery after such a dramatic disturbance. You can see the extent of the ashfall (gray) in the July 2, 1991 image taken a couple of weeks after the eruption. By contrast, the 2010 image reveals the return of vegetation (red) and the continuing impact of erosion (gray streaks flowing away from the summit).
March 16, 2012 - Monitoring the Everglades
Landsat satellite data are proving important to resource managers monitoring one of the Nation's most fragile ecosystems. The largest tract of wilderness east of the Rocky Mountains is located in south Florida within the Everglades National Park. Urban development, increased recreation demands, storms, and hurricanes have all challenged its ecosystem. Comparing the Landsat mosaic data from 1986/1987 and 2010/2011 above shows the gradual change in the fragile system of the Everglades. For more information, visit the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.
February 24, 2012 - February Flooding Affecting Australia
By mid-February, flood waters that affected the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, had moved west isolating nearly 10,000 residents in northeastern New South Wales. By February 18, flooding was especially apparent between Walgett and Brewarrina, and north of Lightning Ridge and Goodooga, as shown in the image above. The flooding in this area could persist for weeks and is expected to move toward Brewarrina over the next month. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite acquired these images on February 6, 2012, and February 18, 2012.
February 9, 2012 - Pine Island Glacier
In mid-October 2011, NASA scientists discovered a massive crack across the ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, measuring 19 miles long, 260 feet wide, and 195 feet deep. Eventually, a giant iceberg, covering over 300 square miles, will break off the glacier. Pine Island is one of the largest and fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica, capturing scientists' attention because of the rate its ice is thinning. Aerial surveys, along with images from multiple satellites, help scientists monitor glaciers over time and better understand their impact on sea level. For more information, visit the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.
February 2, 2012 - Lucas Oil Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLVI
About 70,000 football fans will fill the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, Sunday, February 5, for Super Bowl XLVI. Shown in the March 2011 image above, the $720 million stadium opened for the 2008 football season, replacing the RCA Dome as the new home of the Indianapolis Colts. The April 2007 image shows the RCA Dome while the new stadium was being built.
These unique views of the stadium are examples of high-resolution orthoimagery available to the public from the USGS EROS image archive. In orthoimagery, the images have been orthorectified; that is, corrections have been made for feature displacement such as building tilt and for scale variations caused by terrain relief, sensor geometry, and camera tilt. Visit the High Resolution Orthoimagery page for more information.
January 20, 2012 - Urban Growth of Montgomery, Alabama
In the past 30 years the population of Montgomery, AL, has grown from just under 125,000 to over 200,000. The change in land use from forest and croplands to urban and industrial areas is evident in the Landsat images above. City officials use Landsat data to assess the changing land through the years. For more information, visit the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.
January 13, 2012 - Postfire Regrowth in the Dominican Republic
In March 2005, large fires burned rainforests in the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic. The fires started in José del Carmen Ramirez National Park, on the lower reaches of Pico Duarte, the country's highest mountain. The March 2005 Landsat image above shows the burned mountain slopes as dark brown, unburned forest as green, the hot fire fronts glow red, and the thick smoke appears blue. The dark green covering the fire scars in the February 2011 image indicates the regrowth of the forest lands. For more information, visit the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.
January 6, 2012 - Rising Water Changes Caspian Sea Shoreline
While Caspian Sea water levels have historically fluctuated, the area has seen increasing water volume in the past two decades. These Landsat images show a small portion of the Caspian Sea shoreline, in 1985 and again in 2011. The Volga River is the dominant source of water for this inland sea, and heavy rains have greatly enlarged the flow into the Sea in the past decades. For more information, please go to the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.