What does a volcano look like from 438 miles above the Earth's surface? Thanks to NASA and its new Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite (LDCM), you can see for yourself.
On April 29, the satellite captured two images of the Paluweh volcano spewing a plume of smoke that drifted for miles off the 5-mile wide volcanic island. The volcano, which looks like a wrinkly green blob from space, sits in Indonesia's Flores Sea.
The satellite actually sent two images of the volcano using different imaging techniques.
At first glance, it's the color image taken with the satellite's Operational Land Imager that seems more exciting. The green of the island is a pretty contrast to the dark blue of the water, and right at the top of the island you can see where the smoke from the volcano is dense and thick.
But scientists are geeking out over the gray tone image that was created by the satellite's Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) because of its ability to so accurately capture the boundaries between the hot lava, which is rendered bright white on the image, and the cooler ash clouds, which look almost black.