Remote Islands, part I: Easter Island

With the I-bands having ~375 m resolution at nadir, VIIRS is a powerful instrument. We have already seen the detailed imagery it produces of severe thunderstorms and tropical cyclones. But, you might ask (particularly if you’re thinking you need a vacation), what remote islands is it able to see?

Well, it can see Easter Island. Yes, the one with all the big-headed statues (moai).

False color RGB composite (I1-I2-I3) image of Easter Island, 20:44 UTC 25 April 2012

False color RGB composite (I1-I2-I3) image of Easter Island, 20:44 UTC 25 April 2012

At approximately 24.6 km x 12.3 km, VIIRS has no problem identifying the triangular island, as this false color (I1-I2-I3) RGB composite shows. In this image, taken at 20:44 UTC on 25 April 2012, the 163 km2 island appears to be dwarfed by a thunderstorm just to its north.  If you zoom in, you can see several small cumulus clouds over the island along with their shadows. Unfortunately, it is not quite the resolution needed to see the individual moai.

As Easter Island is in the southern hemisphere, it is autumn there now. The average high temperature is down to 76 °F (from a summertime peak of 79 °F in February). April and May are listed as the wettest months, so an image of Easter Island not obscured by clouds this time of year may be a rare occurrence.