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IMAGE ADVISORYMay 19, 2000
LOS ALAMOS FIRE IMAGED BY NASA SATELLITE
The fire that has raged out of control this month near Los
Alamos, New Mexico, was captured May 9 in a series of images by the
Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer (MISR) on NASA's Terra
The images are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/misr
These true-color images covering north-central New Mexico capture
the bluish-white smoke plume of the Los Alamos fire, just west of
the Rio Grande river. The middle image is a downward-looking or
"nadir" view taken by MISR. As the satellite flew from north to
south, the instrument viewed the scene from nine different
angles. The top image was taken by the MISR camera looking 60
degrees forward along its orbit, whereas the bottom image looks
60 degrees aft.
The fire plume stands out more dramatically in the steep-angle
views. Its color and brightness also change with angle. By
comparison, a thin, white water cloud appears in the upper right
portion of the scene, and is most easily detected in the top
MISR scientists use these angle-to-angle differences to monitor
particulate pollution and to identify different types of haze.
Such observations allow scientists to study how airborne
particles interact with sunlight, a measure of their impact on
Earth's climate system. The images are about 400 km (250 miles)
wide. The spatial resolution of the nadir image is 275 meters
(300 yards); resolution is 1.1 kilometers (1,200 yards) for the
off-nadir images. North is toward the top.
MISR is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of
the California Institute of Technology, for NASA' s Office of
Earth Science, Washington, D.C. The Terra satellite is managed
by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Photo credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL, MISR Science Team.