Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to create new land as flows from fissure 8, one of the most active to break ground since the eruption began in early May, reach the ocean. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection (ASTER) radiometer instrument on NASA's Terra satellite detected the lava flow of fissure 8 -- which extends from Leilani Estates to the Pacific Ocean -- on July 25.
In the image, vegetation is displayed in red, clouds are white and the hot lava flows, detected by ASTER's thermal infrared channels, are overlaid in yellow. The image covers an area of 9.5 by 11.5 miles (15.3 by 18.6 kilometers).
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of about 50 to 300 feet (15 to 90 meters), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.