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Unmanned > Earth & Moon > Earth Observations
Bjorn Jonsson
For some reason it didn't come to my attention until recently (less than a year ago) that the entire Landsat imagery plus a lot of data from other Earth orbiting spacecraft is freely available for download at . Maybe this is because for a long time it was more difficult to find good and freely available global maps (or get data to make maps) of the Earth than it was for other planets/satellites - I somehow was under the impression that the vast majority of Earth imagery was commercial.

The Earth is visually a really spectacular planet (in my opinion possibly even the most photogenic body in the entire solar system) so it's possible to get spectacular results by downloading some of this data. The data can be selected by spacecraft, instrument, location, months/years, cloud cover percentage etc.

Data is available from several Landsat satellites but the best data is from Landsat 7; Landsat 5 is also good. This is multispectral data with a resolution of 30 meters/pixel. Here is an experimental and spectacular 12 frame mosaic showing southern Greenland (10% the original size):

Click to view attachment

The full size version (19000 pixels square) plus additional information can be seen in this blog entry at the Planetary Society website. This image shows a spectacular and complex 'maze' of long and narrow fjords and islands, narrow valleys flanked by steep mountains, glaciers and glacial rivers, countless lakes and ponds and in general a landscape that has been shaped by advancing and retreating glaciers, depending on climate. One important thing to note is that overall this data turned out to be easier to process than is typical for data from other planets.
Bjorn Jonsson
Landsat 8 was launched in February. Following a period of checkouts and calibrations it started regular operations in late May. Below is a mosaic of three Landsat 8 images showing a part of northern Iceland. The full size version (12020x18130 pixels) can be downloaded here, the version below is 30% of the original size:

Click to view attachment

The images were obtained on June 4, 2013 near local noon. The resolution of the full size version is 30 m/pixel. At this time the weather was characterized by strong southerly winds and mountain waves are prominent, especially left of center.

The Landsat 8 image data is of significantly higher quality than earlier Landsat data. In particular, the images are 16 bits which is significant when dealing with high dynamic range scenes where glaciers, snow and clouds are visible together with relatively dark terrain. In this case, the clouds were typically brighter than the dark terrain by a factor of ~5 in the original images . Some areas have relatively fresh snow that is even brighter. The version above has been processed to brighten the dark terrain without losing too much of the detailed structure visible in the clouds.

These images are made available shortly after acquisition, for example I downloaded some images only several hours after they were taken.
There are some other satellites where color processing can be considered of the land surface and clouds. This includes quite a few spectral bands in DISCOVR - EPIC instrument (near future - as discussed in another thread), VIIRS, and GOES-R ABI (future).

So for the present, we can consider VIIRS polar orbiter also having quite a few spectral bands.

GOES-R ABI will have good rapid update frequency (just minutes) in geosynchronous orbit, though it only has two bands in the visible region with others in the near-IR.

Some other geosynchronous weather satellites (apart from GOES) have or will have multiple visible bands.

Here are some processed, retimed sequences from ISS courtesy of NASA & Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit...

monty python
THANK YOU! Works of art.
QUOTE (Sean @ Oct 28 2017, 01:01 AM) *
Here are some processed, retimed sequences from ISS courtesy of NASA & Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit...

Beautiful videos, but the "Nadir" one has me scratching my head. Based on the inclination of the ISS orbit and the ground track motion over Italy, it makes me think the sequence is actually running backwards in time?

Also, in the aurora video, it's almost just as fascinating to look for satellites moving in the background as dim dots as well as a sunglint off of one at 11 seconds into the video.
It is indeed running backwards. I should have specified this, sorry. It took an age to get this rendered and it slipped my mind. Purely an aesthetic choice.
Spellbinding, Sean. smile.gif
Moonlight Flight

4k 60fps over on YouTube

Expedition 53

November 5, 2017 from 22:29:56 to 23:03:24 GMT

From the South Atlantic Ocean to Kazakhstan

Original timelapse extended x3, many repairs & processed.

‘Kangaru’ by Jóhann Jóhannsson
monty python
Very nice. Thank You!
Here is the same source material re-tweened in 60fps to approximate real time based on 1,998 source frame count & 22:29:56 to 23:03:24 time stamps

3 minute sequence on Flickr...

10 minute sequence on Youtube

I took care to choose footage that contained no lightning as that would spoil the intent, though it is possible to repair those flashes before tweening and re-insert them during real time pass.
Africa to Japan

Expedition 34

January 4, 2013 from 05:23:00 to 05:56:16 GMT

From the border of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo to just east of Japan.

Original timelapse extended x5 & processed.

'Odi et Amo' by Jóhann Jóhannsson

4k60 version over on Youtube

Source extended x60 to approximate real time ( 3 minute excerpt )

4k60 version over on Youtube

Finally after a 22 hour process & 3 hour upload

Full 33m16s 4k60 version over on Youtube

'Somnus' by Phaeleh

I made a movie.

ORBIT - A Journey Around Earth in Real Time

Music by Phaeleh

Orbit is a real time reconstruction of time lapse photography taken on board the International Space Station by NASA's Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit.

The structure of the film is built around a nested selection of Phaeleh's last three albums; Lost Time, Illusion of the Tale & Somnus. The tone & pacing of each track influenced the choice of material used.

Typically each time lapse sequence was photographed at 1 frame per second.

Each sequence was processed in Photoshop. A dirtmap was made in order to repair dust, blemishes and hot pixel artifacts that would otherwise confuse the re-timing phase of the workflow resulting in strobes and distracting blurs.

Image processing techniques were used to emphasize features on the Earth's surface. Every sequence consists of a number of layers that when masked, processed & blended correctly produce the final look of each shot.

To make sure each sequence was recreated faithfully to the actual rate of speed observed I referenced time-stamps on the first and last frame in the sequence and used frame interpolation software to produce the other 59 frames.

The length of the film is exactly the length of time it takes ISS to orbit the Earth once, 92 minutes & 39 seconds.

Tropical Cyclone Cebile from January 30th as photographed by Himawari8 [time-lapse] & ISS ESRSU [ real time time-lapse reconstruct ]

Full 4k60 version on Youtube

Volcano Sinabung time-lapse interpolation from Himawari8

QUOTE (Sean @ Feb 21 2018, 02:44 AM) *
Volcano Sinabung time-lapse interpolation from Himawari8

Thanks for that Sean, only about 300km from my place smile.gif
Sean - wonderful Cebile animations with the stadium view. The volcano is pretty nice as well. A couple of things I've been studying recently are forest fires and dust storms if you ever come across these phenomena.
Eye of Gita

Youtube 4k60 real time reconstruction of time-lapse photography

Upscaled, cropped, resized to 4k, processed and retimed.

Nice smile.gif Thanks Sean
Thanks Paul!


Youtube 4k60 time-lapse & real time reconstruction

Filled in time-lapse gaps for the Himawari footage before re-timing.

For the new real time shot I repaired, stabilized, de-flickered, processed, cropped & retimed.

NASA Earth posted this image recently so I decided to clean all the crud from ISS windows & reduce jpg artifacts...
Really neat ORBIT movie from Sean that I'm just catching up on - particularly with the leisurely real-time aspect. Here is an evolving attempt at rendering a portion of the Gibraltar view at about 2:05. Aiming at true color/contrast the image looks relatively subdued. The snow on the mountains helps provide reference points to compare locations.

Click to view attachment

Also for comparison is a frame from the NASA version of the video:

Click to view attachment

QUOTE (Sean @ Feb 5 2018, 07:03 PM) *
Thanks Steve... that's pretty close to the source... obviously 'Orbit' is quite processed which I hope doesn't burn your retina much. I'd be interested to know what global maps you are using.

Cloudheads mosaic + details. ( stitched, processed, repaired )

Nice cloud view Sean - this type of image would be interesting to holistically check atmospheric model output. The simulated Gibraltar images are driven with land surface albedo derived from 500m Blue Marble Next Generation image data. Terrain is from an old 1km USGS database. I added in some synthetic aerosols, though there are models that try to produce them in real-time.
This simulated version of Gibraltar has improved land brightness compared with post #22. The radiance calculations for scattered light and reflected light are now being handled more consistently.

Click to view attachment
Saudi Cloudscape from ISS expedition 47

8 frame composite made from raw file with some fill & repair

*updated with correct exposure
Here is a very quick test of a retimed time-lapse made from raw files.... big quality improvement over the standard JPG compressed files.

4k version over on Youtube

Nile Night
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