NASA MODIS Image of the Day: November 18, 2010 - Antarctica

Status Report From: NASA MODIS Web
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010



The continent of Antarctica shines against the dark waters of the Southern Ocean on a sun-filled spring day.

Surrounding the starkly white ice-covered land mass, large banks of clouds swirl over a stippled and rippled pattern of sea ice.

This true-color image was captured as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the region on November 15, 2010. This image is a mosaic, composed of data collected during a single day and pieced together to create a single large image. Over the course of a day, Terra completes approximately 14.5 orbits around the Earth. Because Terra is in a polar orbit, it passes near South Pole on each orbit, allowing imaging of a portion of Antarctica on each pass. As the satellite passes over a region, MODIS scans a swath directly below its flight path, but also scans out to 55 degrees on either side of the center line. At the edges of the scan, the angle of view creates distortion. To avoid this “edge distortion” and create the clearest possible image, data in the center of the swath is selected to create the mosaic. This technique creates the diagonal lines where the swaths are pieced together, giving the image it’s “pie slice” appearance.

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