A series of out of this world (pardon the pun) images of earth taken from the Landsat 7 satellites collection and archive are yours for the viewing, whenever you please. These particular images featured were singled out for their beauty and splendor first and foremost, rather than for scientific value and study.
Mostly color-enhanced, the photos not only give us a glimpse of the earth only a handful will ever see in person, but also a rare look at some natural phenomenon. Take for instance a huge whirlpool cloud seen above the sea between Morocco and Spain. Pretty rare stuff, bar none.
These images, produced by the USGS EROS Data Center, introduce the public to the Landsat Program, which is run in collaboration by the USGS and NASA. The Landsat: Earth as Art exhibit showcases such images that were selected for their sheer aesthetic magnificence. A variety of combinations of the eight Landsat 7 spectral bands were chosen to produce the stunning RGB composites that can be viewed.
Since 1972, Landsat satellites have amassed images from space about Earth’s coastal areas and various continents. The images on display at the USGS website are digital photographs of the Earth, produced by printing infrared and visible data in colors that can be discerned by the human eye.
The result: Observed from many miles in orbit, the Vatnajokull Glacier is a peculiar spray of blue against the elaborate hues of its surroundings, while Iceland’s Skaftafell National Park is absolutely stunning from above. These are just a few of the many geographical wonders featured in the Earth as Art collection, which luckily can be downloaded for free from Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center Image Gallery. Anyone can also buy printed copies of the satellite images through the US Geological Survey store.
For proper safekeeping, the Landsat 7 images were donated to the Library of Congress by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, which will be the collection’s official repository.
See the collection of images here.