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article imageSatellite takes awe-inspiring 121-megapixel photograph of Earth

By Andrew Moran     May 14, 2012 in Science
Moscow - A spectacular 3D image of our blue marble taken 36,000 kilometres (22,369 miles) away by a Russian weather satellite is proving once and for all how insignificant humans really are. The glorious photo has already eclipsed NASA’s earlier snapshot.
If you think NASA’s January high-resolution (8000 x 8000 pixel resolution) image was amazing, you should look at the latest image of Earth that has been dubbed by certain media outlets “the best photo of Earth ever taken.”
The Russian weather satellite took the photograph once and it uses the image from four wavelengths of light: three visible and one infrared. One of the first things you will notice is the orange that covers the bottom half of Africa, Australia and parts of Europe and Asia.
The photo can be played around with on GigaPan. Users can zoom in and out of the image or click on pre-selected snapshots of different regions of our planet. You can also compare the different features of Earth with today’s photo and NASA’s from January.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Robert Simmon, a scientist at the NASA Earth Observatory, Goddard Space Flight Center, the snapshots aren't better or worse, but rather they capture different things.
A video has been published, which is comprised of approximately 350 shots and each one is taken every 30 minutes.
Elektro-L No.1 was launched in January 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The satellite maintains a geostationary orbit, which means it matches the rotation speed of Earth. It took a snapshot orbiting 36,000 kilometres (22,369 miles) above the equator.
Is Russia back in the space race? This is the first major space craft since the collapse of the Soviet Union and with all of the advancements made in this weather satellite, it could become a glimpse of the future of Russia’s presence in space.
More about NASA, Earth, 121megapixel photo, ElektroL No1, russian weather satellite
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