Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Landsat Thermal Sensor Lights Up from Volcano's Heat

07.05.2013
As the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite flew over Indonesia's Flores Sea April 29, it captured an image of Paluweh volcano spewing ash into the air.

The satellite's Operational Land Imager detected the white cloud of smoke and ash drifting northwest, over the green forests of the island and the blue waters of the tropical sea. The Thermal Infrared Sensor on LDCM picked up even more.


An ash plume drifts from Paluweh volcano in Indonesia in this image, taken April 29, 2013 from the Landsat Data Continuity Misison's Operational Land Imager instrument.
Credit: Robert Simmon, NASA's Earth Observatory, using data from USGS and NASA

By imaging the heat emanating from the 5-mile-wide volcanic island, TIRS revealed a hot spot at the top of the volcano where lava has been oozing in recent months.

The two LDCM instruments, working together, illustrate a quote from Aristotle: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, said Betsy Forsbacka, TIRS instrument manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"Each instrument by itself is magnificent," she said. "When you put them together, with the clues that each give you on what you're seeing on Earth's surface, it's greater than either could do by themselves."

The image of Paluweh also illuminates TIRS' abilities to capture the boundaries between the hot volcanic activity and the cooler volcanic ash without the signal from the hot spot bleeding over into pixels imaging the cooler surrounding areas. TIRS engineers tested and refined the instrument pre-launch to ensure each pixel correctly represents the heat source it images on Earth's surface. Otherwise, Forsbacka said, it would be like shining a flashlight in your eyes -- the bright light can leave you seeing spots and halos where it should be dark. The same effect can occur with detectors. But the contrast is sharp on the Paluweh image.

"We can image the white, representing the very hot lava, and right next to it we image the gray and black from the cooler surrounding ash," Forsbacka said. "It's exciting that we're imaging such diverse thermal activity so well."

The TIRS instrument can also pick up subtle shifts of temperatures, within a 10th of a degree Celsius. And, with two different thermal bands instead of the one band on previous Landsat satellites, LDCM is poised to make it easier for scientists to subtract out the effects of the atmosphere on the signal, obtaining a more accurate temperature of Earth's surface.

Taking Earth's temperature from space can be difficult because the atmosphere gets in the way and alters the thermal signals, Forsbacka said. Scientists looking to estimate surface temperatures with the single thermal band on previous Landsat instruments needed measurements or assumptions about atmospheric conditions.

TIRS has two thermal bands, however. The atmosphere affects each band slightly differently, resulting in one thermal image that's a hair darker than the other. By measuring that difference, and plugging it into algorithms, scientists can better address atmospheric effects and create a more accurate temperature record of the Earth's surface.

The Landsat program is a joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Once LDCM completes its onboard calibration and check-out phase in late May, the satellite will be handed over to the USGS and renamed Landsat 8. Data from TIRS and OLI will be processed, archived and distributed from the USGS Earth Resources and Observation Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., for free over the Internet.

Kate Ramsayer
NASA's Earth Science News Team

Kate Ramsayer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/indonesia-volcano.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America

nachricht Hurricane Harvey: Dutch-Texan research shows most fatalities occurred outside flood zones
19.04.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>