Thanks to the Russian weather satellite, Elektro-L, we now have the highest resolution single image of the earth to date provide by the Russian Space Research Agency’s Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring. NASA has produced beautiful “Blue Marble” images of the earth by stitching together different photographs. The Elektro-L,22,000 miles above the equator, can take a single 121 MB picture of the whole earth every 30 minutes.
Because the Elektro-L is geostationary, in a fixed position above the earth rather than orbiting around it, a series of these photographs can be combined to create a time-lapse video of the earth. That’s exactly what James Drake has on his website planet–earth.ca.
To see more earth animations from the Elektro-L images, visit planet–earth.ca and click on the Electro-L Movies / Whole Earth.
The original blue marble photos came from the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on December, 7, 1972. As they headed to the moon, the crew took photos from about 28,000 miles away. The image below was the first widely publicized view of Earth as a colorful marble floating in black space.