Here are some snapshots sent down from DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 satellites, among the most powerful commercial satellites orbiting the planet.
The eruption of Mount Sinabung, in North Sumatra, Indonesia, was a thing of beauty, but also of death. More than a dozen people were killed as it spewed ash columns more than a mile high.
Parts of Antarctica are losing ice at a rate of some 6.1 billion tons per year. Satellites can track climate change through the progress of receding glaciers, rising seas, and extreme weather events.
The Diavik mine in the remote Northwest Territories produces diamonds for high-end jewelry in markets worldwide. In November, the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced plans for a $350 million expansion of its operations there.
A small city near the Turkish border became a flashpoint for the civil war in Syria, with ISIS militants battling Kurdish forces for months amid U.S. airstrikes. Tens of thousands of civilians who had fled to Kobani from elsewhere were forced to pick up stakes again as the fighting intensified, creating a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.