Data from two satellites reveal a rather stunning cloudless view of Earth, complete with an impressive 80 trillion pixels.
The mosaic of images was taken by the Sentinel-2 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), of which there are two – Sentinel-2A (launched on June 23, 2015) and Sentinel-2b (March 7, 2017). The two satellites orbit at a height of about 790 kilometers (490 miles). The mosaic was stitched together by EOX, an Austrian mapping firm.
To ensure the mosaic was free of clouds, the images for each region were actually taken at different times. For the Northern Hemisphere, they were taken between May and September 2016, while data for the Southern Hemisphere comes from November 2016 to March 2017. The tropical regions are shown from May 2016 to April 2017.
“To have a visually appealing mosaic, it is desired to show the Earth during summer, when vegetation reaches its annual peak,” explained Joachim Ungar, Lead Cartographer at EOX, in a blog post.
The team used 250 terabytes of data from the Sentinel-2 satellites to put the mosaic together. They now hope to get greater cover over Asia and the Americas thanks to the launch of Sentinel-2b.
Check out some of the stunning images from the mosaic below, and view a full scrollable version right here.