NASAs Terra spacecraft shows Raikoke volcanic island, near the center of the Kuril Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean.

Raikoke volcanic island is near the center of the Kuril Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. The island is roughly circular with dimensions of 2.0 by 2.5 kilometers. On June 22, the volcano erupted with a gas and ash plume reaching 17 kilometers. The two ASTER images, acquired exactly 10 years apart on June 30, dramatically depict the changes to the island. In 2009, vegetation (red) covered most of the island. The 2019 image shows an ash and steam plume rising from the caldera. There is no trace of any vegetation, ash deposits having buried everything. The images are located at 48.3 degrees north, 153.2 degrees east.

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/.

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