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Deep Space Observations of Sun Glint from OceansEvery hour or two, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) onboard the DSCOVR satellite provides unique full-color images of the sunlit side of the Earth from the L1 Lagrangian point, which is four times farther the Moon. Casual glances at such images often reveal bright colorful spots that stand out markedly from their surroundings. Such spots often appear not only over ocean but also over land. Tracking the colorful spots using an automated image analysis algorithm reveals that they are caused by specular reflection of sunlight, sometimes from ocean surfaces and other times from clouds containing horizontally oriented ice crystals. The presented study characterizes these spots in terms of prevalence, location, color, and brightness, and provides insights into the factors that lead to their appearance.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Varnai, Tamas
(Maryland Univ. Baltimore County Baltimore, MD, United States)
Marshak, Alexander
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Kostinski, Alexander
(Michigan Technological Univ. Calmet, MI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 26, 2018
Publication Date
July 9, 2018
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Conference on Cloud Physics
Location: Vancouver, BC
Country: Canada
Start Date: July 9, 2018
End Date: July 13, 2018
Sponsors: American Meteorological Society
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
ice crystals
deep space observations
sun glint
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