Fiery Beacon Seen From Space

By Tom Yulsman | May 8, 2013 8:36 pm

The VIIRS instrument on the Suomi-NPP satellite acquired these animated images of the Springs Fire blazing at night near Los Angeles. (Image: William Straka III, University of Wisconsin, CIMSS)

Some striking new remote sensing images of California’s Springs Fire came out today. I’ve followed the event with multiple posts (herehere and here), so I thought I’d share the new ones with you.

The blaze, which erupted on May 2, is expected to be fully contained by tomorrow. It was at first thought to have consumed 28,000 acres (about twice the size of Manhattan), but officials have now lowered their estimate to 24,251 acres.

The animated gif above consists of two images taken of the fire at night by the Suomi-NPP satellite on May 3 and 4. The sprawling night lights of Los Angeles can be seen on the right side of the picture. The fire, near Point Mugu State Park, appears as the bright white circular area on May 3. It pretty much disappears on May 4 as firefighters gain increasing control. For more information, as well as a still image taken by Suomi-NPP, check out NASA’s post here.

Meanwhile, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, or LDCM, captured a pair of highly defined before-and-after images of the burn area. Heres the “after” image:

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission captured this the false-color image of the burn scar from the Springs Fire on May 4. (Image: NASA Earth Observatory)

For the pair together, check out the Earth Observatory post here. The images were taken by the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the newest Landsat satellite, on May 2 and 4 respectively. In the false-color after image above, the burn scar shows up in reddish tones. (I’m not sure why NASA did it, but north is to the right.)

The LDCM spacecraft is currently undergoing engineering checks. When it becomes fully operational, control will pass to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the satellite will officially be re-named Landsat 8.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: select, Top Posts, Wildfire
  • Jeff Somebody

    Oh. I thought it said fiery bacon. That would have been cool.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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