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Picture This…

Picture This

Dust Storm in Northern China
A dust storm struck northwestern China, on March 24, 2007. The MODIS flying onboard the Terra satellite captured this image the same day. In this picture, the dust plume forms a feathery brush over the brown landscape. Source points for the dust storm appear near the base of the mountain range to the west, and the dust moves in a semicircular motion toward the east. West of the storm, clouds appear to move in a similar fashion, and may be driven by the same weather system that stirred up the dust.

Credit: Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory , NASA

Najd Plateau, Saudia Arabia
The Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) image is centred over the plateau region of Najd located in Saudia Arabia, bounded on the west by the Al Hijaz mountains and on all other sides by desert sands. A curious feature about this image are the irrigated fields shown as grey and black circular patterns at the top and centre left of the image.

Credit: European Space Agency

The Sun’s Magnetic Field
Vivid orange streamers of super-hot, electrically charged gas (plasma) arc from the surface of the Sun, revealing the structure of the solar magnetic field rising vertically from a sunspot. This extremely detailed image of the Sun was taken by the Solar Optical Telescope on the newly launched Hinode spacecraft on November 20, 2006.

It and other images, which NASA released for the first time on March 21, 2007, reveal that the Sun’s magnetic field is much more turbulent and dynamic than previously known. Hinode is a collaborative mission led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the European Space Agency and Britain’s Particle Physics Astronomy Research Council.

Image credit: Hinode JAXA/NASA

Fire and Ice
This image of Scandinavia, comprising countries on the Scandinavian Peninsula, namely, Norway and Sweden, and just south, Denmark, was captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on March 27, 2007. Although snow covers much of the area, which is of no surprise, considering the Arctic Circle runs through, just north of the Bay of Bothnia, it is surprising to spot few red dots (marked in red circle), spread in the centre of the image that are the locations of fires that MODIS has detected.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz,