Sunlight Reflects Oily Environmental Disaster

By Rebecca Horne | May 21, 2010 8:21 am

An image from the MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite on Tuesday afternoon, May 11, shows that the damaged Deepwater Horizon oil well continued to leak significant amounts of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil slicks become most visible in satellite images when they appear in a swath of the image called the sunlit region—where the mirror-like reflection of the sun is blurred by ocean waves into an area of brightness. In the bright zone of reflection, the difference between the oil-smoothed water and rougher surface of the clean water is enhanced. The slick appears as a silvery-gray patch in the center of the image. The tip of the Mississippi Delta is at upper left. Wispy clouds make it hard to determine whether any of the streamers or smaller patches of oil extend northeast of the main slick.

Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA, GSFC

  • Uncle Al

    Are you going to believe what appointed authority tells you, or are you going to believe your own lying eyes?

    The so-called “blowout” is a wonderfully successful ploy to save the entire southern US from the most vicious and all-encompassing Officially predicted hurricane season in recorded human history. By covering the Gulf of Mexico with an oil layer, kinetics of evaporation are drastically reduced and the fractal scale of chop is tremendously expanded. Hurricane thermodynamic engines have nothing upon which to feed.

    BP is saving the lives and assets of 30 million people and all you can do is criticize. Not one hurricane has appeared since the spill! It also works to repel vampires, unicorns, ymirs, yeti, dragons, banshees, fallen angels, demonic spirits, and Stymphalian birds. 100% success to date – and the process has hardly begun.

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  • fatkid

    Al, you are a maroon. I am sure your fellow ditto heads admire you.

    Hurricane prediction is not a science, those who claim otherwise are the “appointed authority” you fear. That slick seen from space is a dead zone you can’t see the bottom of.


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About Rebecca Horne

Rebecca Horne ( is an artist, multi-platform freelance writer, and award-winning photography director. She launched Visual Science for in March 2010. She also writes about science and photography for The WallStreet Journal. You can reach her at


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