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
Kate Ramsayer | EurekAlert!
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences