Who doesn’t love NASA’s stunning “Blue Marble” full disc images of Earth? We now have a new source of high definition hemisphere-spanning imagery: the Russians.
Their new geostationary satellite, Electro-L, launched in January 2011, produces ultra-high resolution images of our planet, 121 megapixels to be exact.
Gizmodo provides more details on Electro-L:
Elektro-L is now orbiting Earth on a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers [~22,000 miles] above the equator, sending photographs of the entire planet every 30 minutes using a 2.56 to 16.36 Mbits per second connection with ground control. The images—and the video of the Northern Hemisphere—combines four light wavelengths, three visible and one infrared.
In the above image and the time lapse video below, the orange shades shown are from the infrared wavelengths sensing vegetation. This gives the Earth a modified look from NASA’ Blue Marble true color images.
Via YouTube, and video producer James Drake: A time-lapse of Planet Earth, created from images produced by the geostationary Electro-L Weather Satellite. The images were obtained beginning on May 14th, and end on May 20th. The images are the largest whole disk images of our planet, each image is 121 megapixels, and the resolution is 1 kilometer per pixel.
To refresh your memory, here’s a NASA Blue Marble image:
Which look do you prefer?