Views of the News
June 27, 2014 - Flooding in Southeastern South Dakota
During June 2014, more than 13 inches of rain fell over southeastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and northeast Iowa. The excessive rains caused rivers and streams to overflow; flooded fields; made roadways impassible; and damaged homes and businesses.
These images, collected by Landsat 7 and Landsat 8, show the area of southeastern South Dakota on May 28, 2014, and again on June 21, 2014. Both the Vermillion River (smaller river near center), and the Big Sioux River (on the right) flooded their banks.
June 20, 2014 - Fire at Iraq Oil Refinery
A Landsat 8 image from June 18 shows a plume of smoke billowing from a large oil refinery in Baiji, Iraq. Located about 130 miles north of Baghdad, the Baiji plant is Iraq’s largest oil refinery, providing much of the region’s fuel for electricity and transportation. An attack on the refinery started late on June 17 by the allies of the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
May 23, 2014 - Fires in California, USA
A series of wildfires erupted along the coastal region north of San Diego, California, in mid-May 2014. The first wildfire (Bernardo Fire) began on May 13, followed by several additional fires that occurred over the following days. The May 9, 2014, Landsat 8 image shows the area before the fires began. In the Landsat 7 image acquired eight days later on May 17, 2014, the numerous burn areas appear as red tones.
For more information about these fires, go to the EROS Image Gallery at http://eros.usgs.gov/imagegallery/image-week-2.
April 2, 2014 - Urban expansion in Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, located in northeastern Africa, has expanded dramatically in the past 28 years. In the Landsat images above, the contrast between the lush vegetation of irrigated fields (bright green) and the desert (tan) is very clear. Cairo, shown as the large gray expanse, increased in population from an estimated 6 million in 1986 to over 15 million in 2014. Urbanization into the neighboring desert is also noticeable by the increased size of the smaller urban areas surrounding the city.
March 28, 2014 - Massive landslide near Oso, Washington
A major landslide occurred near Oso, Washington, on March 22, 2014, when a portion of a hillside collapsed, sending mud and debris across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The 1-square-mile (2.6-km2) slide damaged property and formed an earthen dam, blocking the river and causing a barrier lake to form. Landsat 8 acquired the January 18, 2014 and March 23, 2014 images above. The March 23rd image clearly shows the aftermath of the landslide.
March 3, 2014 - Landsat 8 scans the moon
Landsat 8 was built to do something none of its predecessors had done before: look at the Moon. The Moon provides a stable data source because it is a target with practically static surface cover and no atmospheric effects. Data from on-orbit lunar imaging can be used to track the stability of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) instrument and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) aboard Landsat 8, resulting in improved calibration of the data, making good data even better.
Landsat 8 typically collects lunar data monthly near full Moon - at the lunar phase angle of about 8 degrees. Any changes to the sensor’s radiometry (measurements of light) can be detected and used to improve sensor calibration. Lunar data are collected only for calibration or other engineering purposes, so it is not normally released to the public, but USGS and NASA have decided to put out a sample dataset for those eager to look more closely at Landsat 8 lunar data.
This image is from Landsat 8’s lunar acquisition on June 24, 2013.
February 14, 2014 - New Solar farm is viewable from space
On February 11, Landsat 8 captured the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, southwest of Las Vegas, near Primm, Nevada. Officially opening this week, the giant solar-power farm spans over five square miles of federal land and includes three towers, each the height of a 40-story building, and more than 350,000 heliostat mirrors that are the size of a garage door. The mirrors reflect sunlight onto boilers located on the towers, creating steam that drives power generators. The first of its kind, it is estimated that the farm will be able to light up about 140,000 homes a year. Also noticeable in the upper right on the 2014 image is the Silver State Solar Project.
February 10, 2014 - One year and counting
It's been a full year since Landsat 8 was launched. During this time, over 160,000 images have been acquired and made available for download to users worldwide. The April 18, 2013, subset above showing Mexico City, Mexico, is a portion of the most downloaded scene to date. The full scene can be viewed in the left column. Another interesting aspect of this image is the active Popocatépetl volcano, southeast of Mexico City. More than 30 million people live within view of the volcano. For more examples of the extraordinary Landsat 8 images captured during its first year in orbit, go to landsat.usgs.gov.
December 19, 2013 - Landsat 8 Helps Reveal the Coldest Place on Earth
What is the coldest place on Earth? It’s a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night.
Ted Scambos, a member of the Landsat Science Team, along with other researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, discovered the lowest temperatures ever recorded on Earth using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, including Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). The TIRS sensor can pick up thermal radiation emitted from the Earth's surface, even in areas lacking much heat. The study is an example of the intriguing science possible with Landsat 8 and the TIRS instrument.
More information about the coldest place on Earth can be found at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/09dec_coldspot.
November 15, 2013 - Pine Island - Breaking News
A large iceberg has recently separated from the calving front of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. The January 2011 Landsat satellite imagery above shows a series of splits along the western edge of the glacier. The same area in January 2012 shows a major break, and theNovember 13, 2013, image shows that the new iceberg (Iceberg B-31) has broken off and is moving away from the coast. Pine Island is one of the largest and fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica. Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier Basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the sea than any other ice drainage basin in the world. Iceberg B-31 is estimated to be 35 kilometers by 20 kilometers (21 by 12 miles), roughly the size of Singapore, about 50 percent larger than previous icebergs in this area.