Category: Technical Information

News Archive

Landsat Looks to the Moon

Every full moon, Landsat 8 turns its back on Earth. As the satellite’s orbit takes it to the nighttime side of the planet, Landsat 8 pivots to point at the moon. It scans the distant lunar surface multiple times, then flips back around to continue its task of collecting land-cover information of the sunny side of Earth below. These monthly lunar scans are key to ensuring the land-imaging instrument aboard Landsat 8 is detecting light consistently. For a well-known and stable source of light, nothing on our planet beats the moon, which lacks an atmosphere and has an unchanging surface, barring the odd meteorite.

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John Parr Snyder's Space Oblique Mercator Projection

To continually map the Earth’s surface using Landsat data, an entirely new projection had to be created. This new projection was created by John Parr Snyder and is known as the Space Oblique Mercator (SOM) projection. It is considered, “one of the most complex projections ever devised” according to cartographic historian, John W. Hessler.

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Thermal Infrared Sensor

The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) measures land surface temperature in two thermal bands with a new technology that applies quantum physics to detect heat. TIRS

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Operational Land Imager

The Operational Land Imager (OLI), built by the Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, measures in the visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared portions of

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Landsat 8

The Details Launch Date: February 11, 2013 Status: operational Sensors: OLI, TIRS Altitude: 705 km Inclination: 98.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 10 AM (± 15 min.) local time (descending

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