Sunday, February 1, 2015

Planet Earth in Infrared

I thought I would post something different with regard to infrared photography.  The movie above is an infrared timelapse from two different geostationary satellites. GOES 13 (on the left) which is positioned at 75 degrees West longitude over the Pacific ocean. (North America is in the upper right hand corner of the circle.)  GOES 15 is positioned at 135 degrees West longitude over Central America.  The satellite images are time-synchronized.  

The infrared channel from these satellites is sensitive to wavelengths at 6,500 nm which is a long way from the 720 to 1000 nm sensitivity range of a commercial camera with a standard IR filter in place. In these images, brightness indicates emission of long wave infrared (heat, mostly) into space. Long wave infrared radiation is absorbed by water vapor and clouds making these areas appear darker in the image.  The timelapse shows the fluidity of the atmosphere.

The timelapse covers a period from November 30, 2014 to January 26th, 2015 and plays at a rate of 21 hours/sec.  

Image credit: NASA Processing: James Tyrwhitt-Drakeuse for infrared photography.

Source data from