Satellite images – Recap 2017

Some of the most beautiful and interesting satellite images I processed this year

Taking a look back at a few of the satellite images of 2017

In this post I will take a look back at a few (well, actually 31) of the satellite images I processed in 2017, especially those of them which I believe to be some of the better ones. The images are in no particular order or ranking, I just picked what I liked and what might be interesting to look at. If you click on an image you will get taken to Flickr, where you can explore and download a full-size version of it.

You will find images from different satellites (even an old American spy satellite), but mostly images taken by the European Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites and the American Landsat 8 satellite.

So let’s get started:

Image 1 – Bezymianny volcano ash trail

Bezymianny volcano ash trail

A very recent (December 25th) Landsat 8 image of an ash trail caused by an eruption of the Bezymianny volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. The trail was first discovered in the Landsat data by . You should also read this blog post by with a beautiful 3D animation of it.

Images 2 and 3 – Greenland wildfire

Greenland wildfire

Greenland wildfire

Two Sentinel-2 images of the Greenland wildfire in August. You can find more information and links in this blog post I wrote about it. More images of the Greenland wildfire can be found in this album on Flickr.

Images 4 and 5 – Thomas Fire smoke plume

Thomas Fire smoke plume

Thomas Fire smoke plume

Two images of the massive Thomas Fire smoke plume, the first one taken by Sentinel-3, the second one by Landsat 8. More images of the Thomas Fire can be found in this album on Flickr.

Image 6 – F. Graae Glacier, Charcot Glacier, Greenland

F. Graae Glacier and Charcot Glacier

A beautiful view of the F. Graae Glacier and the Charcot Glacier in Greenland on July 12th in this Sentinel-2A image.

Image 7 – 3D view of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains

Los Angeles and San Gabriel Mountains

A 3D view of parts of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains in April, made from Landsat 8 and ASTER GDEM data. A little tilt-shift added for dramatic effect 😉

Image 8 – Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia

Here we have an October 17th Sentinel-3 image of Hurricane Ophelia, shown with enhanced contrast. You should also take a look at this blog post about a Sentinel-2 image of Hurricane Jose.

Images 9, 10, and 11 – Thomas Fire focused on fires and burn scars

Thomas Fire with massive visible fires

Thomas Fire annotated image

Thomas Fire burn scars and visible fire retardant

Three more Sentinel-2 images of the Thomas Fire in California, USA. You can see the massive fires as well as the burn scar and even some of the fire retardant dropped from air by helicopters and planes. More images of the Thomas Fire can be found in this album on Flickr.

Image 12 – Iceland under a blanket of snow

Iceland under a blanket of snow

A beautiful image of Iceland under a blanket of snow, taken by the MODIS instrument aboard the Terra satellite on February 28th.

Image 13 – Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala

Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala

A Landsat 8 image of the Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, combining natural colors with thermal infrared highlights, taken on December 15th.

Image 14 – Burning Qayyarah oil field

Burning Qayyarah oil field

In this image we can see the burning Qayyarah oil field and the smoke plume the fires are generating as seen by Sentinel-2A on January 2nd. An animation alternating between a natural color view and a NIR/SWIR view can be found here on YouTube.

Image 15 – Manhattan, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

An early January (16th) image of Manhattan, New York City, as seen by Sentinel-2A.

Image 16 – Yukon River delta, Alaska, USA

Yukon River delta, Alaska, USA

A false color image of the massive Yukon River delta in Alaska, USA, as seen by Landsat 8 on May 9th.

Image 17 – Saharan dust over the Iberian Peninsula and Atlantic Ocean

Saharan dust over the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean

Saharan dust over the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean can be seen in this image taken by the VIIRS instrument aboard the Suomi NPP satellite on February 21st.

Image 18 – Alaskan Glaciers from a spy satellite

Glaciers in Alaska in 1982 as imaged by a spy satellite

In this image you can see the Hubbard, Valerie, Haenke, and Turner Glacier, Disenchantment Bay and Russel Fjord in Alaska, USA. It is not really a 2017 image, but I processed it this year.

It was taken on August 13th, 1982, by the KH9-17 reconnaissance satellite. A tool, created for spying during the cold war, which also took spectacular images of things which weren’t cold-war related. Images by many older of those spy satellites are being declassified on a regular basis and made available to the public. Make sure to click it and have a look at the full-resolution version (744 MP!) on Flickr, it is spectacular!

Image 19 – Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia

Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia

A March 10th image of the Erta Ale Volcano in Ethiopia as seen by Sentinel-2A in NIR/SWIR wavelengths, showing hot spots.

Image 20 – The Forbidden City in Beijing, China

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Here we have a March 9th Sentinel-2A image of Beijing in China, centered on the Forbidden City.

Image 21 – 3D view of the Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA

Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 3D view

A quite beautiful 3D image of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska in August 2017. Terrain: © Analytical Graphics, Inc., © CGIAR-CSI, Produced using modified Copernicus Sentinel data and information funded by the European Union – EU-DEM layers.

Image 22 – Burro Fire, Arizona, USA

Burro Fire, California, USA

A July 4th Sentinel-2A image of the Burro Fire in Arizona, USA. It is a beautiful example of what you can see in a satellite image during a wildfire, it shows some active fires, the smoke plume those fires generate, the burn scar caused by the fires, and even the red fire retardant used to control and slow the spread of the fires.

Images 23 and 24 – Snowy New York and New Jersey

Snowy New York and New Jersey

Snowy New York and New Jersey

Two March 17th images showing parts of Ney York and New Jersey, the first one by Sentinel-2A focusing on Manhattan, the second one by Landsat 8 showing a bigger area, also showing some differences in the snow cover of Long Island.

Image 25 – 3D view of the 2016 Sand Fire burn scar

2016 Sand Fire burn scar, California, USA

An April 22nd, 2017, 3D NIR/SWIR view of the 2016 Sand Fire burn scar in California, USA. Made from Landsat 8 and ASTER GDEM data.

Image 26 – Wildfire east of Coimbra, Portugal

Wildfire east of Coimbra, Portugal

This October 7th Sentinel-2B image is showing a wildfire east of Coimbra in Portugal. Portugal as well as Spain had some severe wildfires in this season.

Image 27 – Mertz Glacier, Antarctica

Mertz Glacier, Antarctica

A January 12th Sentinel-2A image of the Mertz Glacier, George V Coast, Antarctica. Make sure to click it and have a look at the full-size image on Flickr.

Image 28 – Rice straw burning near Valencia, Spain

Rice straw burning near Valencia, Spain

Two different views of rice straw burning near Valencia, Spain, as seen by Sentinel-2 on November 17th. Left a NIR/SWIR view, on the right a more natural colored view with only a little NIR/SWIR mixed in, as well as NIR/SWIR highlights. First spotted by .

Image 29 – Meandering Mississippi River and the Mississippi River delta

Mississippi River and its delta

In this March 31st NIR/SWIR image, taken by the Indian Resourcesat-2 satellite, you can see the meandering Mississippi River and the Mississippi River delta.

Image 30 – Brian Head Fire, Utah, USA

Brian Head Fire, Utah, USA

A June 27th Sentinel-2A image of the Brian Head Fire in Utah, USA. See the many hot spots (active fires) spreading and the difference between the healthy vegetation and the burn scar.

Image 31 – Europe temporal mosaic

Europe temporal mosaic
A temporal mosaic of Europe, made possible by the Sentinel Hub EO Browser and some help of the fantastic team at Sentinel Hub. You can read more about the image here in this blog post. I encourage you to try the EO Browser, its custom scripting is a powerful tool when it comes to analyzing and visualizing satellite data.

A little extra: Animations

Since you have made it this far, here as a little extra some animations I made of different glaciers in Greenland. Image source are the Sentinel-2 satellites. I went through the data using the Sentinel Hub EO Browser to find suitable and somewhat cloud-free acquisitions I could then use to create the animations.

Jakobshavn Glacier

A full-size animated GIF of this video can be downloaded here.

Helheim, Fenris, and Midgard Glacier

A full-size animated GIF of this video can be downloaded here.

Gerard de Geer Glacier

A full-size animated GIF of this video can be downloaded here.

Petermann Glacier

A full-size animated GIF of this video can be downloaded here.

A few more words

In case you would like to see even more images, you can find them here on my Flickr. I would also like to thank all of you who shared my satellite images on Twitter (Not yet following me on Twitter? ) or other social media in 2017 and those who gave me ideas, advice, or feedback. To all of you a Happy New Year 2018!

Wanna give it a try yourself?

If you would like to give satellite imagery a try yourself, the already mentioned EO Browser made by is a good place to start and get quick results. You might also want to try out some of the excellent (and free) tools Remote Pixel by has to offer, especially the Remote Pixel viewer. Have fun exploring Earth!

 

Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2017]
Landsat 8 data and KH9-17 data courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey
Resourcesat-2 data courtesy of ISRO and the U.S. Geological Survey
Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua/Terra MODIS data through NASA Worldview
ASTER GDEM is a product of METI and NASA

One thought on “Satellite images – Recap 2017

  1. Nice collection! What band assignment is used for Pic#16? looks amazingly “super-natural” though being false color (yeah, yeah, human perception…). And what causes the cross-like artifacts around the hotspots in Pic#19? could understand that if taken by a 2D-array sensor, but Sentinel-2 isn’t…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.