Currents in the Pentland Firth

Cur­rents in the Pent­land Firth

June 14, 2012  Be­tween the Scot­tish main­land and the Orkney is­land of South Ronald­say, the wa­ter flows at very high speed. The Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) Ter­raSAR-X and Tan­DEM-X radar satel­lites make it pos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy and anal­yse these cur­rents from space.

Image 1/14, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Filigree landscape in Chile's Atacama Desert

Fil­i­gree land­scape in Chile's At­a­ca­ma Desert

July 27, 2011  This Tan­DEM-X im­age shows Salar de Uyu­ni, the largest salt flats in the world cov­er­ing 10,000 square kilo­me­tres, lo­cat­ed next to the vol­canic re­gion of the At­a­ca­ma Desert. The blue to dark blue ar­eas show the low­est ly­ing parts of the salt flats. A trained eye can see the bound­aries of rock de­posits in the three-di­men­sion­al mod­el. This in­for­ma­tion about land­scape fea­tures helps us draw im­por­tant con­clu­sions about the ori­gins and de­vel­op­ment of the area.

Image 2/14, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Mount Etna in three dimensions

Mount Et­na in three di­men­sions

July 27, 2011  The first bistat­ic radar im­age ac­quired by the twin satel­lites Tan­DEM-X and Ter­raSAR-X shows the Ital­ian vol­cano Mount Et­na, on the east coast of Sici­ly. On the left of the im­age, be­low the flank of the vol­cano, the city of Cata­nia can be seen as a col­lec­tion of bright points. This im­age, ac­quired while the satel­lites were or­bit­ing at a dis­tance of on­ly 350 me­tres from one an­oth­er, is the world's first to be made us­ing such a close satel­lite for­ma­tion.

Image 3/14, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Ice floes on the coast of October Revolution Island

Ice floes on the coast of Oc­to­ber Rev­o­lu­tion Is­land

July 27, 2011  In the cen­tre of this Tan­DEM-X im­age, ice floes can be seen in the sea ice off the coast of Oc­to­ber Rev­o­lu­tion Is­land. They project about 3-10 me­tres above the sea ice. The smooth struc­ture on the left is the rocky coat of the is­land. Two glacier tongues that flow in­to the sea can be seen at the top of the im­age, to the left and right of a large boul­der.

Image 4/14, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Madagascar seen from space

Mada­gas­car seen from space

July 27, 2011  Even the ups and downs of the waves in the In­di­an Ocean – coloured pale yel­low on the im­age – are chart­ed by Tan­DEM-X as it flies over at a speed of sev­en kilo­me­tres per sec­ond. The change in the waves at the en­trance to the Diego Suarez Bay is clear­ly vis­i­ble. The wa­ter in the bay it­self, on the shore of which the provin­cial cap­i­tal, Antsir­anana, can be recog­nised, is very flat – in con­trast to the un­du­lat­ing ocean – and re­flects the radar sig­nals from Tan­DEM-X more uni­form­ly. The area of val­leys to the south drains the vol­canic cone of Am­bre-Bobaom­by in­to the In­di­an Ocean.

Image 5/14, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Mount Erebus, Antarctica

Mount Ere­bus, Antarc­ti­ca

October 17, 2016  With­in the frame­work of the Ger­man Tan­DEM-X radar satel­lite mis­sion, the po­lar re­gions were sur­veyed for the first time in a com­pre­hen­sive and high­ly ac­cu­rate man­ner, which is of vi­tal im­por­tance for cli­mate re­search. The ter­rain mod­el here shows a re­gion of the Antarc­tic around the 3794-me­tre-high Mount Ere­bus (up­per left), an ac­tive vol­cano cov­ered by glacier ice.

Image 6/14, Credit: DLR
Glacier Network, Greenland

Glacier Net­work, Green­land

October 17, 2016  The mea­sure­ment of the po­lar re­gions by Tan­DEM-X is so pre­cise that glacier move­ments can be seen in the cen­time­tre range, and changes in el­e­va­tion caused by ice melt­ing mea­sured in the me­tre range. Ini­tial stud­ies have shown that in some re­gions, glaciers are los­ing up to 30 me­tres in thick­ness per year in the area of the glacier tongues. The colour-cod­ed ter­rain mod­el shows a re­gion in North­east Green­land Na­tion­al Park, the largest na­tion­al park in the world. The Ele­phant Foot Glacier, which is about five kilo­me­tres wide, stands out in the cen­tre of the im­age. It flows from the moun­tains to Romer Lake.

Image 7/14, Credit: DLR.
Rainforest clearing, Bolivia

Rain­for­est clear­ing, Bo­livia

October 17, 2016  Clear­ing in San­ta Cruz, Bo­livia: At first glance, na­ture seems un­touched – for­est ar­eas crossed by rivers and small moun­tain chains. Up­on close in­spec­tion, one can see strip-like struc­tures – wet­land sur­faces cleared for plan­ta­tions.

Image 8/14, Credit: DLR
Jeju volcanic island, South Korea

Je­ju vol­canic is­land, South Ko­rea

October 17, 2016  The is­land of Je­ju, which is lo­cat­ed south of the Ko­re­an penin­su­la, is of vol­canic ori­gin and has a strik­ing to­pog­ra­phy. The Tan­DEM-X ter­rain mod­el shows Hal­lasan (low­er left), a dor­mant vol­cano and, at 1950 me­tres, the high­est moun­tain in South Ko­rea. In the re­gion, 365 small vol­canic moun­tains, la­va and sea caves have formed, which char­ac­terise the land­scape and veg­e­ta­tion of the is­land.

Image 9/14, Credit: DLR
Crater landscape of the Nevada Test Site

Crater land­scape of the Neva­da Test Site

October 4, 2016  The 'Neva­da Test Site' was, from 1951, the venue for nu­mer­ous nu­cle­ar tests. The desert area, 100 kilo­me­tres north­west of Las Ve­gas, is dot­ted with ex­plo­sion craters.

Image 10/14, Credit: DLR
La Avenida de los Volcanes in Ecuador

La Aveni­da de los Vol­canes in Ecuador

October 4, 2016  The ‘Av­enue of the Vol­ca­noes’ in Ecuador. The left third of the pic­ture is dom­i­nat­ed by Co­topaxi. At 5897 me­tres, this very reg­u­lar, con­i­cal stra­to­vol­cano is the sec­ond high­est moun­tain in Ecuador. In the sur­round­ing area, the sum­mits of the vol­ca­noes Ru­miñawi (4721 me­tres), Sin­cholagua (4900 me­tres), Pasa­choa (4200 me­tres) and Pich­in­cha (4784 me­tres) are vis­i­ble.

Image 11/14, Credit: DLR
Richat Structure in Mauritania

Richat Struc­ture in Mau­ri­ta­nia

October 4, 2016  The Richat Struc­ture in Mau­ri­ta­nia. Through vol­canic ac­tiv­i­ty, sed­i­ment lay­ers from the primeval ocean were pushed to the sur­face in the Maur Adrar Desert. Sa­ha­ran winds erod­ed these over time, trans­form­ing the dif­fer­ent lay­ers of hard rock in­tru­sions in­to con­cen­tric rings and dips. The dis­tinc­tive for­ma­tion is a land­mark for as­tro­nauts.

Image 12/14, Credit: DLR
Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile

Chuquica­ma­ta cop­per mine in Chile

October 4, 2016  The Chuquica­ma­ta cop­per mine in north­ern Chile is the sec­ond largest open pit cop­per mine on Earth. The enor­mous ex­tent of the pit tes­ti­fies to the huge mass that has been re­moved. Cov­er­ing an area of about 13 square kilo­me­tres, the rock has been mined to a depth of over 850 me­tres. The city of Cala­ma can be seen in the cen­tre of the im­age, ap­prox­i­mate­ly 10 kilo­me­tres from the open pit.

Image 13/14, Credit: DLR
TanDEM-X radar intensity map

Tan­DEM-X radar in­ten­si­ty map

March 18, 2019  The Tan­DEM-X radar in­ten­si­ty map clear­ly shows the three lanes cre­at­ed by the Ice Road Trucks. The rea­son for this is the in­creased sur­face rough­ness of the three lanes. It makes them ap­pear brighter than their sur­round­ings. North is at the top of the im­age.

Image 14/14, Credit: © DLR.

The objective of the TanDEM-X mission (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is to produce a highly accurate, three-dimensional image of our Earth with uniform quality and unprecedented accuracy. 

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