A Daily View of Earth

  • Released Monday, April 3, 2023

Viewing the entire globe nearly every day for more than 23 years, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS instrument, has been a total game-changer for Earth scientists, studying a wide breadth of topics from clouds and the carbon cycle to vegetation and water quality. It has also been used to track the progress of natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.

MODIS began collecting data in 1999, when the Terra satellite was launched. The Aqua satellite was launched in 2002, and MODIS instruments on both satellites have been collecting data ever since. This animation shows a global view of Earth using just a year of MODIS data—from February 2022 to February 2023.

Daily true-color Earth images taken over the course of a year are shown using reflected red, green, and blue light. Small black diamonds and black polar regions indicate the only areas that are not observed each day.

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 and Aqua MODIS view the entire Earth's surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths. MODIS plays a vital role in the development of interactive Earth system models that can predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our environment.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Monday, April 3, 2023.
This page was last updated on Monday, July 15, 2024 at 12:25 AM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions: