“The most amazing high definition image of Earth — Blue Marble 2012.” - NASA If NASA says it’s the best image ever of Earth, I’m guessing that it is. This image really has the ability to suck you in, make you think about yourself, make you think about everything inside that marble, permanently stick into your mind, and make you smile. NASA’s “Best Photo of Earth Ever Taken” | “Blue Marble 2012″ | Unofficial Networks

NASA’s “Best Photo of Earth Ever Taken” | “Blue Marble 2012"

NASA’s “Best Photo of Earth Ever Taken” | “Blue Marble 2012"

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NASA’s “Best Photo of Earth Ever Taken” | “Blue Marble 2012"

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NASA’s Blue Marble 2012

“The most amazing high definition image of Earth — Blue Marble 2012.” – NASA

If NASA says it’s the best image ever of Earth, I’m guessing that it is.  This image really has the ability to suck you in, make you think about yourself, make you think about everything inside that marble, permanently stick into your mind, and make you smile.

See the Full Size image here > Blue Marble 2012

The new 2012 image is:

 “from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite — Suomi NPP.  [The image is a] composite image [that] uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012.” – NASA

 

This is the original blue marble and is an option as wall paper on the iPhone. This is the best known Blue Marble

A ‘Blue Marble’ image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite – Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed ‘Suomi NPP’ on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

Suomi NPP is NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth.

Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS.

To read more about NASA’s Suomi NPP go to: www.nasa.gov/npp – NASA.gov

 

History of the “Blue Marble”

The Earth didn’t appear blue in NASA’s first satellite images; rather, the Television Infrared Observation Satellite, known as TIROS, beamed home images in black and white. Still, those earliest images showed that a yet-unproven method of observing the Earth from space would help improve weather forecasts.

Astronaut photographs taken during the Apollo missions provided full-color images of Earth, and fostered a greater awareness of the need to understand our home planet. In 1972, from a distance of about 45,000 km (28,000 mi), the crew of Apollo 17 took one of the most famous photographs ever made of the Earth. This original ‘Blue Marble’ inspired later images of the Earth compiled from satellite data. In 2000, NASA data visualizers compiled an image of the western hemisphere using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration including GOES-8 imagery, the NOAA’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, and NASA/Orbital Science’s Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor.

In 2002, NASA produced the Blue Marble, the most detailed true-color image of the Earth’s surface ever produced. Using data from NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists and data visualizers stitched together four months of observations of the land surface, coastal oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, photo-like mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. In October 2005, the creators of the Blue Marble released a new version of the spectacular image collection that provides a full year’s worth of monthly observations with twice the level of detail as the original. The new collection is called the Blue Marble: Next Generation.

Like the original, the Blue Marble: Next Generation is a mosaic of satellite data taken mostly from a NASA sensor called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that flies board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. Also like its predecessor, the new Blue Marble is available free of charge to educators, scientists, museums, businesses, and the public. The collection includes images that are sized for different media, including Web and print. Users can download images of the entire globe, or just selected regions of interest. – Nasa.gov

 

Limitations

Those who intend to use the Blue Marble: Next Generation in their own publications or projects should be aware of areas that still require improvement. Areas of open water still show some ‘noise.’ In tropical lowlands, cloud cover during the rainy season can be so extensive that obtaining a cloud-free view of every pixel of the area for a given month may not be possible. Deep oceans are not included in the source data; the creator of the Blue Marble uses a uniform blue color for deep ocean regions, and this value has not been completely blended with observations of shallow water in coastal areas. The lack of blending may, in some cases, make the transition between shallow coastal water and deep ocean appear unnatural. Finally, the data do not completely distinguish between snow and cloud cover in areas with short-term snow cover (less than three or four months). This problem may be resolved in the future through the use of a more sophisticated snow mask.  – Nasa.gov

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