For twenty years, the Louisiana Earth Scan Laboratory has utilized the equipment and services of several NASA Earth Observation satellites that are packed with the latest in imaging, synchronizing and data sending technology.
For the public, the laboratory produces real time images and movies of certain Gulf of Mexico events, such as storms, current weather and the movement of the ocean's currents. There are satellites that use imaging technology to identify algae blooms, vegetation, chlorophyll levels, water quality, surface sediments and sediment suspension in true color, not artificial representations.
The systems manage to get past clouds to measure water temperature and features of the ocean. In addition there are historical archives and accessible satellite schedules that will allow the public to view the latest results for a variety of uses, such as planning ocean cruises or fishing expeditions.
Where does MODIS fit in? MODIS is an imaging system that rides aboard two satellites: the Terra satellite which is Earth Observation System PM and the Aqua satellite, which is Earth Observation System AM. Both are part of the more extensive array of satellites that make up the NASA Earth Observation system. These systems are shared by many institutions, one of which is the LSU Earth Scan Lab.
Terra was launched in 1999 and Aqua was launched in 2002. The MODIS instrument was built by Santa Barbara Remote Sensing in California. It was built to NASA specifications.
MODIS stands for "Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer". This system can image land, ocean and atmosphere with one peice of equipment! It views out of three viewing doors: the Earth door, the Space Door and the Solar Door.
This means, first, that the images and spectral radiances are captured and displayed in a range of resolutions that go from about 850 feet to .62 miles, or 250 meters to 1 kilometer.
Second, MODIS can capture images from water and land. It can scan for land, cloud and water temperatures. It will give ocean color, phytoplankton, and elements of biogeochemistry. It can scan for the boundaries and properties of land and water aerosols, water vapors.
Third, MODIS can scan the atmosphere and image atmospheric water vapors, temperature and the water vapor in cirrus clouds.
To view the MODIS "Images Of The Day", at the NASA website, simply click and enjoy the great results of this fantastic technology.
To view some of the MODIS high resolution imagesat the Louisiana State University site, simply click.
There is also a catalog of some of the Best of LSU MODIS images at the LSU Earth Scan lab!