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The Snow-Covered Washington, DC Area Is Today’s MODIS Satellite Image of the Day
|| 12/22/2009 || 7:18 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 12/20/2009
Resolutions: 250m (reduced)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA’s Earth Observatory

I was looking for satellite images of last weekend’s blizzard and found that today’s MODIS Satellite Image of the Day just so happens to be of the Washington, DC area. MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a key instrument aboard the Terra (EOS AM) and Aqua (EOS PM) satellites that documents changes on the surface of the earth. Terra’s orbit around the Earth is timed so that it passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon. Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth’s surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths that are used for numerous scientific purposes. You can view these satellite images in real-time and see exactly what has happened on the surface of the earth within the last 48 hours.



YouTube Video of Landsat Satellite Images of Las Vegas (1984-2009)
|| 3/4/2009 || 12:23 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I came across this animated slideshow last week and felt it was worthy to share here. I have an old USGS book that uses earlier Landsat satellite imagery showing roughly the same thing, but this version is newer and shows more growth. What I thought was the most interesting, beyond the fact that human growth looks like cancer, is seeing Lake Mead shrink considerably over the years. When you watch the video above, look closely at the lake on the far right side to see what I’m talking about. This begs the question, as Las Vegas grows and Lake Mead shrinks, will or should the city stop growing when the water runs out? Since its a man-made reservoir, I doubt it will go dry up anytime soon, but I guess the larger issue to me is how sustainable can living in the desert really be? There is quite a bit of space in the Las Vegas area that has yet to built on, but should it be? Should there be a limit to the growth of the city so that the city become less dominated by low-density housing? If people want cookie cutter houses I can’t say much about their tastes, but I will say that there is a carrying capacity of all environments and I’m curious about when and if Las Vegas will reach that level.


Related Nevada Entries:

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Short NASA video of the 2004 Transit of Venus
|| 11/23/2008 || 11:24 pm || Comments Off on Short NASA video of the 2004 Transit of Venus || ||

Since I started reading about the Transits of Venus, I’ve found this video on-line in multiple places, but no one has uploaded it to Vimeo yet. This very short video is composed of a sequence of images taken by the Solar X-ray Imager on the GOES satellite as Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. If you look closely, that small ball at the bottom is Venus. The last Transit of Venus before this was in 1882 and the next transit will take place on June 6th, 2012, where it should cross the upper portion of the Sun.



Bird’s Eye View of Little Diomede, Alaska
|| 11/2/2008 || 4:38 pm || Comments Off on Bird’s Eye View of Little Diomede, Alaska || ||

The other day I found this photograph above on a friend’s Facebook page. The photograph was taken from an airplane while the friend was traveling Alaska on behalf of their job in the American government. Around the time current Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, made a gaff about being able to see Russia from Alaska, I remembered how there was only one spot in America where this was the case and it just so happened that my friend had recently been there.

Known as the Diomede Islands in America or the Gvozdev Islands in Russia, the two islands are only split by about 4 kilometers. What I’ve always thought was interesting is that the houses on Little Diomede (above) face tomorrow. Due to the placement of the International Date Line, the Russian side is one of the first territories to start the day. This means folks on Big Diomede can also see yesterday.

NASA satellite image of the Diomede Islands


Related 2008 Election Entries:

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ordered last week: New Blaeu
|| 3/10/2008 || 9:25 pm || Comments Off on ordered last week: New Blaeu || ||

New Blaeu by Nikolas Schiller

Originally created last summer as “NOVA ET ACCVRATISSIMA TOTIVS TERRARVM ORBIS TABVLA [2007 Remix],” when this map was published in the December 14th issue of the Christian Science Monitor, the editors truncated the name and simply called it “New Blaeu.”

Last week I decided to update the map slightly by trimming the edges and doing some color correction. It’s being printed at 20″x16″ and preserved behind glass in in an ornate gold frame. I am also planning on framing some of the other antique maps I purchased recently to compliment this map. I think they’ll look really cool all hung together; the real old with the fake new.

View the other detail:

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The first glimpse of Mercury’s horizon
|| 1/17/2008 || 5:55 pm || Comments Off on The first glimpse of Mercury’s horizon || ||

As the MESSENGER spacecraft drew closer to Mercury for its historic first flyby, the spacecraft’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired an image mosaic of the sunlit portion of the planet. This image is one of those mosaic frames and was acquired on January 14, 2008, 18:10 UTC, when the spacecraft was about 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles) from the surface of Mercury, about 55 minutes before MESSENGER’s closest approach to the planet.

The image shows a variety of surface textures, including smooth plains at the center of the image, many impact craters (some with central peaks), and rough material that appears to have been ejected from the large crater to the lower right. This large 200-kilometer-wide (about 120 miles) crater was seen in less detail by Mariner 10 more than three decades ago and was named Sholem Aleichem for the Yiddish writer. In this MESSENGER image, it can be seen that the plains deposits filling the crater’s interior have been deformed by linear ridges. The shadowed area on the right of the image is the day-night boundary, known as the terminator. Altogether, MESSENGER acquired over 1200 images of Mercury, which the science team members are now examining in detail to learn about the history and evolution of the innermost planet.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

As I mentioned the other day, the MESSENGER spacecraft started to document the planet Mercury. Since this is the first time in my entire life that contact has been made with the planet, I find these pictures quite intriguing.



Mercury is nigh [flyby stimuli]
|| 1/14/2008 || 12:51 am || Comments Off on Mercury is nigh [flyby stimuli] || ||

According to Astroprof’s Page:

The MESSENGER spacecraft is now nearly to Mercury. It will pass the planet on Monday, January 14, 2008, at about 1:05pm, Central Standard Time.

MESSENGER (the MErcury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft) is the first space probe to visit Mercury since Mariner 10 last passed that planet in 1975, over three decades ago. Technology and instrumentation have come a long way since then. MESSENGER is far more capable than Mariner 10 ever could have been. Furthermore, MESSENGER aims to do something that Mariner 10 never did: MESSENGER, after several flybys, will enter orbit around Mercury. Mariner 10 only flew past three times. MESSENGER will pass closest to Mercury tomorrow, and then again 266 days later, on October 6, 2008. This is important, because it is about 4.5 Mercury rotations. That means that on the second flyby, MESSENGER will see the opposite side of Mercury lit than the one lit on the first flyby. When Mariner 10 flew past, each time by was almost 3 exact rotations later, so nearly the exact same side of Mercury was lit each time by. As a consequence, half of Mercury could never be seen by Mariner 10. And, not even all of the side lit by the Sun was imaged, so less than half of Mercury has been photographed and mapped. MESSENGER will not have this problem. The MESSENGER website has several animations that show the launch, trip across the solar system, and approach for the spacecraft.

Read more here & here.

Watch the flyby animation of Mercury in HD [quicktime]

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Messier 101 Mandala [birth/death of a star]
|| 1/11/2008 || 6:22 pm || Comments Off on Messier 101 Mandala [birth/death of a star] || ||

: saved at 12,000 X 12,000 :
Messier 101 Mandala

It was originally rendered at the normal size (216mp), but I decided to cut the center out and use the circular Mandala layout. Being that its my first use of tessellated space I decided to use an archetype that represents rebirth.

Read more about this project here

View Details:

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Tessellated Space
|| 1/9/2008 || 1:13 pm || Comments Off on Tessellated Space || ||

The Messier 101 Pinwheel Galaxy photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope
Courtesy of the European Space Agency & NASA

Back in October, Georgetown English professor Mimi Yiu gave a presentation at conference called Defining Space in Dublin, Ireland. The title of her presentation was “The Virtual Fabric of Tessellated Space: Nikolas Schiller’s Geospatial Art as Map, Quilt, and Arabesque.” I mention this because my next project uniquely involves tessellated space.

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icarus
|| 2/1/2003 || 10:19 am || Comments Off on icarus || ||

#digital scrap

Photograph of my television showing CNN's coverage of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

On the birthday of my first love after we broke up… The day before my mother’s 50th birthday… The first Israeli in space burned up while reentering the earth near Palestine, Texas. There is only one God, right? I am blessed to be alive.


I still remember that morning….4/24/05





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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