Satellite Images


Properties of Visible Satellite Images

How does the thickness of a cloud change the way it looks from the satellite?

Here is a visible image where the satellite radiometer collected reflected energy from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, or 0.6 microns. A piece of this image has been extracted and appears as a square below the larger satellite image. This portion of the image contains a cloud and some clear sky areas. You can change the appearance of this extracted image by changing the cloud thickness or the surface characteristics. You do this by moving the sliding scales (scroll bars) accompanying the picture on the right and bottom.

Vertical Slider: adjust cloud thickness and its effective brightness using the vertical slider to the right of the picture.

Horizontal Slider: modify surface characteristics using the horizontal slider to bottom of the picture and note the resulting contrast between the cloud and the different types of surfaces you choose.

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Questions to consider:

  • What happens to the image when you make the cloud thinner?
  • What happens to the image when you make the cloud thicker?
  • What happens to the brightness of the cloud when you change the ground type (and temperature) Why?