60 satellite images of Earth


Webdesigner depot has 60 beautiful satellite photos of Earth.

The Dasht-e Kevir, or valley of desert, is the largest desert in Iran. It is a primarily uninhabited wasteland, composed of mud and salt marshes covered with crusts of salt that protect the meager moisture from completely evaporating.
(Via The Presurfer)


  1. Can anyone explain how the quote below relates to the colors being so off? I understand that they haven’t been manipulated (well, I’m assuming they haven’t) but why aren’t they captured as we’d see them?

    From TFA:
    “Various combinations of the eight Landsat 7 spectral bands were selected to create the vivid RGB composites that we have featured.”

    1. “Landsat 7 will fulfill its mission by providing repetitive, synoptic coverage of continental surfaces; spectral bands in the visible, near-infrared, short-wave, and thermal infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum…” http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/service/gallery/fact_sheets/earthsci/landsat/landsat7.htm

      Long and short of it, they are composite images of different wavelengths, and they assign each a nifty color to come up with the exaggerated results. Same thing they do to Hubble pictures by assigning colors to different elements and wavelengths to make pretty space pictures, as opposed to if you looked at say, the Orion Nebula, through a telescope with your own eye it just appears a smudgy grayish-blue.

    2. It means that the satellite didn’t capture the image in the red, green, and blue bands that our eyes see. They could have been created from any mix of bands (I know some of the red is actually infrared) assigned to the red, green, and blue values.

      So maybe red is 0.4 * infrared band 1 + 0.6 * infrared band 2, for example. They’d normally be picked to make it easy to see what the user is looking for, but it gives you some leeway for artistic interpretation of a scene sensed in a way that doesn’t directly match what a human would see.

  2. Ah, my pictures. A few that didn’t make the news are here. The original collection is here.

    There is no photomanipulation done to these, although we used photoshop to put the bands together. All we did was put three of Landsat’s eight bands in a RGB combination, and then adjust the contrast. Most of them use infrared bands; some of them are true-color, using the bands that approximate human vision.

    I created about 80% of the images in the original show, and about half of the ones in the linked article. I might not be remembered for anything, but I know these images will be.

  3. Does anybody know what kind of license these are released under? Can they be re-used for things other than a desktop background or something similar? I may be missing something obvious, but I haven’t been able to find any information at any of the related websites.

    1. I would love to know that as well. I’d pay to have one of these images blown up and mounted. They’d be awesome art on yer LR wall. :)

  4. The Landsat images are U.S. public domain — free to use for commercial or non-commercial purposes for US citizens. The taxpayers funded them, the taxpayers can have ’em. I’m not sure of the foreign rights but I can ask when I get back to the office after the holidays.

  5. ‘But a being possessing hyper-intelligence might be able to
    create an entire beautiful, colorful planet in the middle of
    an infinite Universe.’
    OK. But was this the equivalent of a PhD paper, or just finger-painting by a kindergartner?
    People can be self important sometimes.

  6. I am totally going to georeference some of these and use them for my cartographic principles class next semester.

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