Planet Earth as you have never seen it before.

Ten years ago on March 1, the European Space Agency launched an 8-ton satellite called Envisat that would deliver back to Earth some of the most beautiful images of our planet taken from space.

Since then, Envisat has orbited Earth more than 50,000 times and has lived twice as long as planned.

The satellite has more than seven instruments on board that can use radar to see through clouds, capture ocean color and land cover, monitor the ozone layer and atmospheric pollutants, measure thermal-infrared radiation, and register surface topography.

To celebrate the satellite's 10th anniversary, we've selected a few of its most beautiful images for this gallery. Good luck deciding which one to use as wallpaper for your computer desktop.

Von Karmen Vortices

This false-color Envisat image, acquired on June 6, 2010, highlights a unique cloud formation south of the Canary Island archipelago, some 95 km from the northwest coast of Africa (right) in the Atlantic Ocean. Seven larger islands and a few smaller ones make up the Canaries; the larger islands are (left to right): El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.


Resembling the brush strokes of French Impressionist Claude Monet, electric blue-colored plankton blooms swirl in the North Atlantic Ocean off Ireland in this Envisat image. Plankton, the most abundant type of life found in the ocean, are microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea.

While individually microscopic, the chlorophyll they use for photosynthesis collectively tints the surrounding ocean waters, providing a means of detecting these tiny organisms from space with dedicated "ocean color" sensors, like Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), which acquired this image on May 23, 2010 at a resolution of 300 m.

Kamchatka Peninsula

This image, acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument on Nov. 12, 2009, captures the rugged and remote Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia's East Coast. The 1,250-km long peninsula lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west.

Phytoplankton Bloom

In this Envisat image, acquired on Dec. 2, 2011, a phytoplankton bloom swirls a figure-of-8 in the South Atlantic Ocean about 600 km east of the Falkland Islands. Different types and quantities of phytoplankton exhibit different colors, such as the blues and greens in this image.


Image and caption: ESA

Responses to "10 Years of Gorgeous Images of Earth From Space"

  1. pasikas says:


  2. These are some of the most amazing images from space that I have seen. Thank you for posting.

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