Russia Technology Trends

120 – 121 Megapixel Earth: Russian Satellite Pics and Video

Remember the Big Blue Marble photo of the Earth astronauts on the Apollo 17 snapped in 1972? Now check out this one — it’s a time lapse video. A Russian weather satellite captured it with a 121 mp camera — the effect of that is intense clarity and zoomability.

I caught this breathtaking image on an Australian website last night and had to share it. This time lapse video of the Earth from 24,854 miles (or 40 Km) up came from the Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No. 1. It is the clearest and, thanks to the pixel density, most zoomable image ever of our planet, available to the public.

It easily outshines the so-called 1972 Big Blue Marble shot taken by the Apollo 17 crew in 1972. Note that vegetation appears brown instead of green. That’s a function of the infrared camera.

How does it work? The Russian satellite, equipped with its 121mp camera, captures an entire hemisphere at a resolution of 1km per pixel in the visible light band and 4km in the infrared light band. That creates a new 120 megapixel image every 30 minutes.

Russia launched the weather satellite back in January 2011 and began capturing these images back in May.
As for NASA, it released an update to the Blue Marble photograph in January 2012 made from a series of images it also captured via a U.S. weather satellite. Makes you wonder what the more secretive high-res cameras on board military satellites can do, doesn’t it?

Check out those images.

Here is the original 1972 Big Blue Marble image.

Image: NASA


NASA Goddard
also released an updated hi-res photo in February.


Image credit: NASA

Russian Time Lapse Video and 121mp Images Via: The Age

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Tom Ewing

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  • Eric Turner

    Astounding beauty!