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121 Megapixel Earth

A Russian weather satellite has taken a 121 megapixel image of planet Earth, over 22,000 miles above the surface. The image was taken by Russia's Electro-L satellite, and unlike other images taken by spacecrafts, it was taken in one single shot.
Normally, several images are taken by a space agency, then are stitched together in order to create one big image. However, Roscosmos went about it another way with its 121 megapixel photo. Each pixel in the image represents a little over a half-mile of the Earth's surface. The Electro-L satellite captures a picture of this quality every half-hour to monitor the weather on Earth. If a strange weather pattern is seen, the Russian operators can remotely command the satellite to take images every 10 minutes.

The image uses a combination of visible and near-infrared wavelengths to make-up the image, so vegetation is seen as red, rather than green. The Russian satellite, which launched in January 2011, sits in an orbit that matches the Earth's rotation, known as a geo-stationary orbit, so that it remains on a fixed point of the planet.

Credit: Electro-L


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