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Questions tagged [earth-observation]

questions about the observation of the planet Earth from space, usually for scientific, technical, or other well-defined reasons, or about the spacecraft that do this. This tag is usually used for systematic observations, but it could also apply to a questions on specific images or photos observing something unusual requiring analysis.

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3
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1answer
122 views

How exactly does atomic oxygen cause problems for spacecraft in VLEO?

In very low Earth orbit there are (at least) two problems; aerodynamic drag, and atomic oxygen (O rather than O2). Drag can be compensated with a low thrust from an ion engine. Question: But what ...
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0answers
75 views

Risk to “NASA’S ICON satellite” if PG&E shut off UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory's power?

The San Jose Mercury News article How PG&E’s power shutdown threatened a NASA mission describes a last minute rush to obtain extension cords, generators, and access to backup fuel when it was ...
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4answers
5k views

Could Apollo astronauts see city lights from the moon?

You can see city lights from orbit on the night side of Earth. A lot of science fiction (yes, sorry...it's one of those questions) has dialogue such as "on a clear night you can see XYZ city on the ...
32
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2answers
8k views

Has anyone in space seen or photographed a simple laser pointer from Earth?

In the question How to make a green LED as visually bright as a 0 magnitude star? I worked out that a 100 mA green LED with a 10° half-angle 18 kilometers away would be as bright as a 0th magnitude ...
4
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0answers
192 views

Why is the Aeolus space laser losing power so quickly?

The BBC News article Aeolus: Wind-mapping space laser is losing power says that Europe's Aeolus satellite was launched last year to gather data to improve weather forecasts, and its observations ...
3
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1answer
198 views

Why does the Earth's atmosphere as seen from space have the colors that it does?

Here is a photo of Comet Lovejoy taken from orbit. https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-30/html/iss030e015472.html The atmosphere has 3 bands. The lowest is deep blue and so I ...
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0answers
34 views

What fractions of the time did Skylab spend in Earth-oriented and Sun-oriented attitudes?

The Introduction section of NASA Technical Memo TM-X-64628 Angular momentum desaturation for Skylab using gravity gradient torques begins: The Skylab Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) experiments ...
5
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2answers
122 views

Why are images from DSCOVR EPIC unavailable for certain dates?

I am in love with the images available at https://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/ taken from the DSCOVR satellite. I am curious though as to why some dates are unavailable to select. The calendar date picker ...
4
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2answers
296 views

How was the 18 December 2018 Bering Sea Fireball detected and characterized? Was it a serendipity or a weather satellite?

The map at Fireball and Bolide Data is reproduced in the BBC News article US detects huge meteor explosion with the 2013 Chelyabinsk event and the recent 18-Dec0281 Bering Sea event annotated. The ...
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1answer
49 views

Why can Cryosat's dual antenna “better discern steep slopes” of Antarctic ice than Sentinel-3?

The BBC's Climate change: Satellite fix safeguards Antarctic data explains that earlier problems of missing data near the coasts have been addressed, and though scientists are hopeful, there is ...
2
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0answers
121 views

Would a space station be able to watch a world wide cataclysm and how long would the crew be able to survive for? [closed]

I know there is other questions with similar concerns about there being any protocols in pace if the crew of space station were to witness a world wide cataclysm and the survivability of the crew if ...
4
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1answer
276 views

Cost of an earth observation cubesat satellite like Planet Labs' Doves?

With the cubesat standard and more and more components being available off the shelf, this should really bring down the price of building a (simple) earth observation platform. I am curious how low a ...
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2answers
129 views

Which spacecraft can see plants “glow” during photosynthesis during the day, and what wavelength does it use?

This comment reminded me that I once read something about an Earth observation satellite that has a sophisticated optical system (possibly a camera) that it tuned to a very narrow range of wavelengths ...
1
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1answer
63 views

What optical design is used by the GEDI's receiving telescope and how is the secondary held in place?

GEDI is a sophisticated LIDAR instrument now on its way to the ISS. Once installed, it will use powerful laser pulses (10 mJ, 242 Hz) from several lasers to map height in 3D, collecting multiple ...
3
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0answers
51 views

What would be the equivalent camera performance specification of Earth-imaging satellites, compared to consumer DLSRs?

In order to better understand what Earth imaging cameras are like (as seen in Google Earth) from the point of view of a photographer, I've asked the following. Consumer-grade cameras like DSLRs, ...
7
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2answers
928 views

What is this huge, red, blinking light structure on Earth seen from the ISS in this video?

The video ESA video Progress launch timelapse seen from space is of course striking for many reasons. However there is a strange, blinking light structure on Earth that's quite puzzling! I've added ...
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472 views

How to calculate azimuth and elevation angles from satellite point of view of a ground station?

How to find azimuth and elevation from satellite of a ground station when yaw, pitch, roll, lat, long position of satellite and lat, long position on ground are given? ...
2
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2answers
140 views

Which Live satellites can the public view of earth? [closed]

Does anybody know if there is a LIVE satellite? Like a cross between Google Earth (zoom) and GOES 16 (LIVE)? So WE can see what's really going on around here? I want to see inside of the crater in ...
3
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1answer
112 views

How will the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON)'s Michelson interferometer measure wind speed?

The NASA Spaceflight article ICON resets for October launch from the East Coast indicates that the Ionospheric Connection Explorer is scheduled to launch in October 2018 from an airplane! (Pegasus XL)....
2
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1answer
481 views

Does NASA really measure PM2.5 concentrations from space?

Particulate air pollution is a serious health concern, especially the particles small enough to remain in the air as it reaches the deepest, smallest areas in the lungs. These particles can cause ...
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0answers
48 views

Does NOAA still plan to deploy all twelve Cosmic-2 GPS radio occultation satellites?

In the 2014 Space News interview of Jim Bridenstine (now NASA administrator, then member of the US house of representatives for Oklahoma) Q&A With Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) appears: Space ...
4
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1answer
170 views

How will Icarus aboard the ISS track bird migration?

The question Is it possible to see animals from space? has several answers, and they are all based on optical imaging. In this answer I describe and show images from the First count of individual ...
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1answer
59 views

Earth-based lightning on the Space Station channel

When watching the NASA channel (such as on YouTube) you see clouds and occasionally land forms. Why is it we never see electric storms on Earth ?
20
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1answer
3k views

Has the Earth's red atmosphere rim ever been photographed?

In the Wikipedia article on Lunar eclipse there's given an image of how the Earth would look from the eclipsed Moon: This is obviously a schematic drawing. So I wonder, has the Earth ever been ...
3
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1answer
144 views

Why do the LAGEOS' satellites have four germanium corner cube reflectors out of over 400?

When I was writing this answer about the LAGEOS satellites, I noticed that only four of the over four hundred corner reflectors are made of optical germanium rather than fused silica. Fused silica (...
4
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1answer
65 views

Why does MODIS have two channels covering a band of 3929nm to 3989nm?

While working my way through the technical specification of the MODIS sensor (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) in the Terra and Aqua missions, I noticed that band 21 and 22 seem to cover ...
2
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0answers
45 views

What would be the optimal times and conditions to watch for to try to hear whistlers?

I have an NASA Inspire VLF-3 radio receiver kit that I'm going to put together. It amplifies VLF electromagnetic signals that are already in the audio frequency range and makes them audible. One of ...
2
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2answers
142 views

How does a spacecraft like Worldview-3 manage 29 different spectral bands? One giant filter wheel, or…?

@Jack's answer mentions 29 separate spectral bands for the Worldview-3 satellite, and that these are implemented using filters. Is there one giant 29+ position filter wheel incorporated into a single ...
4
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1answer
145 views

Why are the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite's solar panels angled so strangely?

The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (or GPM) spacecraft (1, 2) has two solar array panels. They extend from opposite sides and one is tilted with respect to the other. This is a slightly ...
5
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1answer
64 views

How can satellites measure the energy of individual ~100 MeV gamma ray photons with reasonable certainty

This answer states: From the AstroMEV website: Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) are high-energy photons originating from the Earth's atmosphere in association with thunderstorm ...
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0answers
61 views

How will EarthNow LLC obtain its real-time video of Earth?

The New York Times article Asteroids and Adversaries: Challenging What NASA Knows About Space Rocks led me to read further about Nathan P. Myhrvold which led me to the interesting This American Life ...
3
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1answer
130 views

What are these bright streaks in MODIS Earth images? Why are they shaped this way?

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua (EOS PM-1) satellite generates images of most of the Earth each day, though there are small gaps near the equator where the ...
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2answers
370 views

Can ISS astronauts see the lava from the Kilauea volcano at night?

The google news said "Lava from the Kilauea volcano can be seen from space" but it just links to the YouTube video of the same name. The screen shot of the video below shows a small ESA credit at the ...
4
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3answers
553 views

Where is the camera on the MarCo cubesat that took this “pale blue dot” type of photo of the Earth and the Moon?

Where is the camera on the MarCo cubesat that took this "pale blue dot" type of photo of the Earth and the Moon? Is there an official NASA web site for photos from the MarCo cube sats? This one is ...
1
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1answer
171 views

How can GEDI be considered a carbon-monitoring instrument?

EDIT: According to a new, 17-May-2018 item in Science: That NASA climate science program Trump axed? House lawmakers just moved to restore it. Quoted in both Phys.org: NASA program to track ...
4
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2answers
116 views

Orbits that allows observation of a polar region

If a mission is only interested in a single polar region of a planet, what kind of orbit would be most fitted for the satellite. The first things that comes to mind is a polar orbit, but then it ...
5
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2answers
297 views

Hovering Carbonite! Why do these satellite videos of Earth appear to be made from a geostationary location?

The BBC News article UK satellite makes HD colour movies of Earth has led me to a series of YouTube videos as well recorded by the Carbonite-2 spacecraft built by Surrey Satellite Technology to be ...
23
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3answers
4k views

Could a spy satellite in orbit be recommissioned to do astronomy?

Since the National Reconnaissance Office offered NASA a left-over Hubble sized mirror that might be used for the WFIRST space telescope, I wonder if the NRO has satellites in operation that could do ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Can we expect shots from Starman that include the Earth and Moon together?

Just as the question asks. Will the Roadster get anywhere near, or be in any planned position to capture images of the Earth and Moon in the same field of view? A sort of "family photo" :)
3
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0answers
62 views

What is the Telescope Invariant Point?

I am working on an implementation of an SLR tool. At some points of the documentation of the CRD format the term telescope invariant point shows up. Apparently it's a point on an ILRS antenna system. ...
6
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1answer
114 views

Inexplicable Offset in Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) observations

I am struggling with the implementation of a Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) validation tool. The situation is as follows: I am provided with a framework which gives me the position of a SLR ...
2
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1answer
218 views

Reason for satellite passes at the same local time each day?

Is there any specific reason especially for the remote sensing satellites passing at the same local time over a particular place each day? I have some experience measuring the radiance received by ...
46
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2answers
9k views

What caused this bright light from the ground at night seen from the ISS?

The music video on the NASA Johnson YouTube channel The Sound (& Visions) of Silence shows images and video of Earth taken from the ISS by astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, Paolo Nespoli, and ...
6
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1answer
396 views

Has an astronaut ever seen pixies, ELVEs, sprites or blue jets (without a camera)?

The NASA Science video ScienceCasts: A Display of Lights Above the Storm shows several examples of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) (Upper Atmospheric Lightning) being filmed by high-sensitivity ...
7
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1answer
305 views

Could spy satellites be blinded? For example by search lights?

Assume that Doctor Evil insists on dancing outdoors although he has been forbidden by the UN to do so. And that spy satellites can observe this against Doctor Evil's volition. Could Doctor Evil keep ...
7
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0answers
270 views

Have LAGEOS' germanium corner cube reflectors ever been used?

When I was writing this answer about the LAGEOS satellites, I notices that four of the over four hundred corner reflectors are made of optical germanium rather than fused silica. Fused silica (FS) ...
2
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1answer
320 views

Why do the solar panels on the seven Sentinel configurations look so completely different from each other?

I understant that these six different Earth-observing satellite platforms measure and image Earth data differenty, but there is just such a wide variety of different ways to build solar panels and ...
1
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1answer
202 views

How could the recently explained “glints” seen by DSCOVR appear so compact considering the finite size of the sun?

The discussion section of the very recent, on-line-available Terrestrial glint seen from deep space: oriented ice crystals detected from the Lagrangian point Alexander Marshak, Tamás Várnai and ...
3
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0answers
238 views

Are there ANY verified satellite images of visible light coherent backscattering from Earth?

Coherent backscattering is an optical phenomenon which is a bit complicated and as far as I know is pretty difficult to demonstrate in visible white light images. Image below from here. According to ...
0
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1answer
615 views

How do I calculate pointing and stability requirements for a platform (Cubesat, UAV) if we know sensor details (IFOV, Integration Time etc)?

My project involves developing a multi-mission modular satellite bus. I have couple of payloads under consideration and have the necessary sensor details. Based on that I am trying to figure the ...