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Seeing the Earth Almost Live

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the smile-for-the-satellite dept.

Space 143

arobic writes "European Space Agency (ESA) is putting recent pictures of the Earth (taken 2 hours before) online using Envisat. To avoid filling up their disks too quickly, only the bmp of the last 30 days are available but jpg are kept. Also, only region receiving light can be seen, which explains why no recent pictures of Thailand are available."

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Thailand? (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146952)

I don't get the joke on Thailand.

Re:Thailand? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147056)

I don't get the joke on Thailand.

Maybe he was referring to the fact that there is/was night in Thailand, so there are no recent pictures, because they need sunlight?

Re:Thailand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147242)

You're explaining the sentence, but not why it's there. What the grand-parent wants to know is that Thailand is where the submitter's imaginary girlfriend lives. There, I said it.

Re:Thailand? (0)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148600)

Maybe he was referring to the fact that there is/was night in Thailand, so there are no recent pictures, because they need sunlight?


They keep 30 days of pictures right? My guess is Thailand doesn't usually experience night for quite that long at a time.

Re:Thailand? (4, Funny)

drig (5119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148910)

Maybe that's why one night in Bangkok can make a hard man humble?

Re:Thailand? (1)

ahillen (45680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148926)

They keep 30 days of pictures right? My guess is Thailand doesn't usually experience night for quite that long at a time.

Since the specialty of this site is not that they show pictures of the earth, but rather that the pictures are ~2 hours old when they are published (according to the submitter), I guess the use of the term "no recent pictures" rather refers to hours than to days.

Re:Thailand? (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147082)

"I don't get the joke on Thailand."

I read somewhere that the Earth exists in a state commonly referred to as 'round', so sometimes there are parts of the planet that light while others are dark. It's an interesting theory but I cannot claim to be an expert on the topic because I haven't looked out the window to observe this myself.

Re:Thailand? (0, Redundant)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147222)

Yes, but why single out Thailand here?

Re:Thailand? (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147230)

I believe he was asking for us to explain why that particular country was picked as an example, rather than someplace where something interesting is happening, like Iraq.

Re:Thailand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149458)

I suppose the recent coup [wikipedia.org] in Thailand doesn't count as interesting because it's been mostly bloodless?

Re:Thailand? (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147470)

I read somewhere that the service keeps their bmp files for a period of 30 days (why, it was the summary! Imagine that.), and jpeg files for longer. I also seem to remember something about the sun usually rising at least once per 30 days in most places in the world (usually more frequently).

Is it possible to zoom enough to... (5, Funny)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146962)

...see naked people ?
(If not, this thing is not useful at all).

Re:Is it possible to zoom enough to... (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149166)

Wife: Darling, come outside, I want to show you something.
Husband: Not right now darling, I'm trying to see our house on this cool new satellite imaging site.

Two hours later...

Husband: Oh damn it!

What's this about Thailand? (4, Funny)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146964)

There's no light in Thailand? Have they fallen afoul of the sun or something?

'No light for you! Come back one summer solstice!'

He probably means no light emited from Thailand (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147024)

So the satellite receive nothing from them=>Thailand cannot be seen. Or maybe this is a sick joke I do not get at all.

Re:He probably means no light emited from Thailand (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148466)

Perhaps he meant 1) no light emitted and 2) confused Thailanad with North Korea. That's the only explanation I can think of.

Re:What's this about Thailand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147176)

There's no light in Thailand?

Sunlight (which is what they need)? Not at night. That means, for the last couple of hours. For this reason there are no recent pictures.

Have they fallen afoul of the sun or something

By my experience that is pretty much the same everywhere in the world. :)
(Defining night as "sun below the horizon, of course :) )

Thailand (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146976)

Also, only region receiving light can be seen, which explains why no recent pictures of Thailand are available.

Did I miss something? Did some devious Thai overlord deploy a sun-blocking device recently?

Re:Thailand (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147150)

Presumably, it's night there. However, that still doesn't make sense -- why can't we get satellite photos of all the pretty city lights?

Re:Thailand (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147184)

Well, considering the summary says that jpgs are available for the last 30 days, then goes on to say there are no "recent" pics for Thailand, it makes you wonder exactly how he's defining "recent."

Re:Thailand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147920)

Well, considering the summary says that jpgs are available for the last 30 days, then goes on to say there are no "recent" pics for Thailand, it makes you wonder exactly how he's defining "recent."

Since, according to the submitter, the exciting thing about this site is not the fact that you get satellite images of the earth, but that they are put there ~2 hours after they were made, I would think recent is a couple of hours.

Night lights (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147624)

You know that pretty world light pollution picture. That's enhanced. It's not what the typical human eye sees at night time. The lights are much more dim from space. There's not too much to see with the same cameras that take day pictures.

Re:Night lights (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148550)

Here's a link [usra.edu]

Re:Night lights (2, Interesting)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148766)

Here's a better link [nasa.gov] that explains "The above image is actually a composite of hundreds of pictures made by the orbiting DMSP satellites. "

Obligatory (1)

GoombaTroopa (1022351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148190)

Did I miss something? Did some devious Thai overlord deploy a sun-blocking device recently?

Mr Burns!

(Probably happened around the time as that episode with the power plant moved to India)

Re:Thailand (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149310)

That's just ridiculous.
The reason is quite simple: overuse of solar energy has used up all the sun light in their part of the globe. Parts of Alaska have this same problem during winter.

Figures (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146982)

As usual, we keep aspiring countries in the dark to have access to cheap labour.

But what about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146984)

To avoid filling up their disks too quickly, only the bmp of the last 30 days are available

But what are they doing to avoid filling up their server bandwidth? :-p

Re:But what about... (0, Redundant)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147040)

After getting /.ed, they're not going to have any bandwidth left.

It's crystal clear (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146992)

Oh yes, it clearly shows that Americans are increasingly getting obese! Ban transfat!

My God.. (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146994)

it's full of........., erm, oh, that doesn't work

Thai Food (1)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149660)

Yes. The most destructive force in the universe.

Nothing can escape it, not even light.

lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146996)

fp
Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc/powerpc-apple-darwin8/4.0.0/specs
Configured with: /private/var/tmp/gcc/gcc-4061.obj~8/src/configure --disable-checking --prefix=/usr --mandir=/share/man --enable-languages=c,objc,c++,obj-c++ --program-transform-name=/^[cg][^+.-]*$/s/$/-4.0/ --with-gxx-include-dir=/include/gcc/darwin/4.0/c++ --build=powerpc-apple-darwin8 --host=powerpc-apple-darwin8 --target=powerpc-apple-darwin8
Thread model: posix

IE only? (4, Informative)

EnderGT (916132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147026)

Your results may vary, but I was only able to get it working in IE, not Firefox (1.5.0.8).

I tried to go see the tornado damage in London, but apparently the resolution is extremely low - at the multinational zoom level, if you will.

Re:IE only? (1)

Ipeunipig (934414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147096)

No Thailand, No Firefox. What's next, no transfat in my McDonalds?

Re:IE only? (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148186)

Only if you live in New York City [nyc.gov] .

Re:IE only? (1)

Destoo (530123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150172)

Or Canada [wikipedia.org] .

Now everyone's burgers taste like dry crap instead of just crap.

Re:IE only? (1)

corky842 (728932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147282)

Firefox portable 2.0 w/ Flash 9 works fine.
Click on "Observing the Earth" at the top, then click "Explore Earth in near-real time" on the new page.

stalkers (1)

pap3rw8 (962737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147032)

stalkers will be soo happy when they see this

Re:stalkers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149296)

I'm curious, what are stalkers doing that can be seen with 260m resolution?

Google Maps (0, Redundant)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147038)

http://maps.google.com/ [google.com] is more intuitive than the ESA MIRAVI and if you would like a more powerful tool check out http://earth.google.com/ [google.com] .

Google Maps is off-topic (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147194)

The point of this thing is that the pictures are "almost live." The imagery in Google Maps tends to be several years old. It's not the same thing at all.

Re:Google Maps is off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147360)

"almost live."

Is that like "almost funny" or "slightly pregnant"

Re:Google Maps is off-topic (1)

Lauritz (146326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147906)

No, it's "much more live than Google Earth" which shows images that might be recorded years ago, and "less live than the LIVE, you see on TV" which shows images that might show images that are just recorded a few seconds ago.

Be like Billy... (2, Funny)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148758)

"almost live."

Is that like "almost funny"


Oddly enough, yes [imdb.com] .

Though I do have fond memories of Billy Quan, The Lame List (or, "What's Weak This Week"), and the super-hero SPEED-WALKER! Plus you can see Bill Nye in his pre-Science-Guy days.

Re:Google Maps is off-topic (1)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147892)

I think the time delay is perfectly reasonable. Amazing, in fact. Once the site escapes from the /. cloud so I can actually use it, I plan to do some research there. I suspect a number of governments will think the delay is much too short - no time to censor things!

Re:Google Maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147248)

Google Maps/Earth use ooolllllldddd pics. some of them are 4-5 years old. this is almost real time. as recent as 2 hours ago. and whole freaking earth.

Not only Thailand (4, Funny)

loconet (415875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147050)

Not available for Thailand and parts of Soviet Russia, where as we all know, light receives them.

Re:Not only Thailand (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147630)

So you are saying they should show up on the sun?

Re:Not only Thailand - and in Korea (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148582)

You can only see old people.

I can't believe it (5, Funny)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147084)

We've slashdotted the whole earth!

Great. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147104)

The world is a cam whore.

Re:Great. (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147306)

The world is a cam whore.
It sure is [myspace.com]

James Kim? (3, Interesting)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147112)

Where was this technology when it would have proved so useful? Couldn't this be used to find missing people?

*note: the original link has been slashdotted so I may not be fully aware of what this tech can do (magnification, etc).

Re:James Kim? (5, Informative)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147572)

Spatial resolution is approximately 300m. 15 spectral bands. Primary use is going to be for things like climate change, land use, etc. Fun to play with if you know what you are doing with it. I've been working in my spare time on code in IDL/ENVI to do imagebasing of aerial imagery so looks like I have a new source of lots of data for testing/playing!

Re:James Kim? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147590)

Sure. Just go search yourself on this service and please don't come back to Slashdot before you find yourself (and some respect).

Re:James Kim? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17148162)

James Kim no, the corpse of James Kim yes.

Thailand Dark (1)

mvnicosia (937268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147126)

I think he was refering to the coup

Are we still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147128)

I can't get to the website.. does that mean we are almost dead now?

Re:Are we still alive? (3, Funny)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147236)

No, it means we were almost dead two hours ago.

Re:Are we still alive? (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147668)

Yes, there was a typo. It actually sees 20 minutes into the future.

Don't forget MODIS (3, Informative)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147178)

15 minutes from picture in space to web page (or World Wind if you use it)

http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/200634 1/ [nasa.gov]

Re:Don't forget MODIS (1)

iksbob (947407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148404)

Heh. All the images of North America are mysteriously omitted.

Make an awesome desktop widget (4, Interesting)

mliu (85608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147196)

Can't quite get through to the site already, but just an idea.

In terms of awesome eye candy this would make just above the coolest desktop widget (for MacOS, Vista, or Yahoo! Widget Engine or whatever). A view of the Earth from space that reflects continuous conditions as they're seen.

You could see it snow outside your window and then 2 hours later you see that your region is now covered in a sheet of white on the map. During the Persian Gulf War I wonder if this had been around if you would have been able to see all the smoke burning oil fields.

Not sure if such a thing would be possible due to technical limitations, but if so I would be the first to run it on my desktop.

Pay service (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148266)

I'd pay a few bucks a month (maybe more than a few) for a HD feed of the planet in near-realtime.

Any rich geeks want to put up a spy sat? I'm sure I'm not alone.

Re:Make an awesome desktop widget (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149424)

In terms of awesome eye candy this would make just above the coolest desktop widget (for MacOS, Vista, or Yahoo! Widget Engine or whatever). A view of the Earth from space that reflects continuous conditions as they're seen.

I always thought NASA should mount a camera on the underside of the ISS. A plain old webcam would do, but they could probably lay hands on some pretty decent imaging. They could put it out over a spare cable channel, just put some classical music on the soundtrack and let the world drift by below with no further commentary. Or stream it over the internet; I'd love to set that as my screensaver, for instance.

Live? (0, Offtopic)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147212)

Since when is 2 hours delay called "live"?

Re:Live? (1)

timtwobuck (833954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147532)

Since they prefix it with 'almost'?

Re:Live? (1)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147728)

Almost would be... say, 1 minute?
It's like saying that e-mail is ALMOST live, even if I'll only reply to your letter tomorrow.

Re:Live? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147826)

They need time to check if Janet Jackson is anywhere near.

Re:Live? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147948)

If you want to see Earth live in real time just by looking down. Now those pictures are really real time. The only delay is the time that it takes for the light to reach your eyes and of course you have to take into account the time it takes for the electrical impulses to travel from your eyes to your brain.

Re:Live? (2, Funny)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148798)

Two words:

Wardrobe Malfunction.

"To avoid filling up their disks too quickly" (4, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147214)

Suggestion: call Google.

Re:"To avoid filling up their disks too quickly" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17148108)

Second suggestion: use GMail.

Triana Satalite (2, Informative)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147270)

Al Gore [wikipedia.org] had an idea to orbit a satellite that provides a continual view of the Earth.

Shame, I would have like to have seen that publicized and championed by the media. A little cultural enlightenment might have gone a long way.

Re:Triana Satalite (1, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147670)

Wait, you mean to tell me that Al Gore invented the Triana Satalite? This is better than the internet!

To the Press Department!

Re:Triana Satalite (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148934)

It's a shame. Every time I see Al Gore's name come up, I flinch, waiting for the inevitable "joke" to rear it's brain-dead head.

Don't people ever tire of acting like sheep?

Re:Triana Satalite (-1, Redundant)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149396)

Yeah, but I guess he was too busy inventing the internet that he wasn't really able to successfully publicize his satellite idea.

Re:Triana Satalite (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150508)

it's supposed to be funny....! ;)

RAPIDFIRE (5, Informative)

mwprod (1036838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147334)

NASA has been doing this for a long time now.
Sure RapidFire doesnt have the flashy web interface (actually i dont like the MIRAVI web site), but all the photos are there and up to date.

http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/ [nasa.gov]

WMD found (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147438)

I think I just spotted WMD in Iraq and North Korea. Quickly, someone get me through to Bush.

OMG...I almost missed that! PONIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSs

Slashdot story with a site hosting BMP's (4, Funny)

dobedobedew (663137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147566)

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Slashdot story with a site hosting BMP's (1)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148218)

Yeah, some of those BMP images are huge. No wonder the site is clobbered right now. Quit clicking the BMP links, you fools!

a likely story (0, Redundant)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147652)

"Also, only region receiving light can be seen, which explains why no recent pictures of Thailand are available"

Riiiiight... Has anyone ever seen Thailand and Envisat together? Didn't think so! One minute Thailand is right next to you, then you turn around and there's Envisat, but where did Thailand go???

I think any decent person can see what I'm getting at here.

I'm in Thailand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147942)

Sure it's dark right now, but boy was it bright earlier on

I like the older pictures (3, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148122)

I kind of like the older Google satellite pictures better. I got laid off a couple of years ago, but the satellite picture of my bus stop still shows my car parked there so I can still feel like I have a job.

Programmer senses tingling (3, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148172)

I sense the idea for a project to automatically take these images and update a map of the earth in real time.

And why the hell aren't they using PNG instead of BMP?

Dark (0, Redundant)

tryptych (1023927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148324)

"There is no dark side of Thailand. As a matter of fact, it's all dark."

Anyone know the location of their webserver? (5, Funny)

seriesrover (867969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148392)

In about half an hour you'll be able to see a flume of smoke rising from the building - it'll be the first time we can physically see a slashdotting in action.


The suspense is killing me.

Re:Anyone know the location of their webserver? (1)

Country_hacker (639557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149088)

Check out the Firefox extension Shazou [mozilla.org] , it gives you the location of any server in a google maps window. This particular server is in Rome.

Live. Almost. (1)

cbrichar (819941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148512)

Almost Live serves as a fair definition of their site status as well.

When there's only two choices, Almost live still means dead.

Quality (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148664)

To avoid filling up their disks too quickly, only the bmp of the last 30 days are available but jpg are kept.

My whole house could disappear as a JPEG compression artifact.

How about TIFF with LZW compression as a compromise?

Re:Quality (3, Funny)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149508)

"My whole house could disappear as a JPEG compression artifact."

Holy crap, have you ever seen that 3d-animated show Reboot? I just got this really vivid image of a neighbourhood being destroyed as though it was whipped up in some kind of digital tornado, and sucked up into whatever unknown void... "AAhhhhh shit THEY USED JPEG!!!!!!! Run for your lives!!"

YOU FAIL It!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17148858)

that the p80ject [goat.cx]

This is FANTASTIC!!! (2, Funny)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150070)

Now I'll be able to see pictures of the earth and it will be almost like I'm there!

Huge demand for near-realtime satellite imagery (2, Interesting)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150080)

While everyone scrambles to make portable mp3 players and game stations and search engines, this huge demand for near-realtime satellite imagery is going unfilled. In countries with crazy inflation and concentrated job growth, it's common to buy land far far away from the jobs instead of saving cash.

Satellite imagery could allow those people to see the current condition of their assets and the surrounding area at any time. It would allow them to buy more assets without having to travel there. People who are now watching their cash investments disappear in the flood of inflation would have a chance to survive.

The UK server doesn't have enough bandwidth to do it but maybe if someone looked away from their Macworld program for a second they could offer a live version of Google maps.

Hey, what is that I see? (1)

chinton (151403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150340)

Is it the High Fivin' White Guys?

Hehe... Envisat? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150872)

Was that one named for ESA being envious of another space organization? Or others successes in launching Mars vehicles?

Hmm... I wonder which that could be. :-)

(note: I'm European too; this isn't a cocky American.. just found the name funny)
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