Monday, March 23, 2009

Deadly Beauty

Deadly Beauty - Bushfires in Australia

Credit: NASA

Wilson's Promontory National Park, located at the southern tip of Victoria, Australia, was one of many areas scorched by large bushfires in February 2009. The Cathedral Fire was was sparked by lightning whereas the Churchill fire imaged below was started by arson.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

East of Churchill, Victoria, we see another burn scar left by one of the deadly Australian bushfires in February 2009 also made visible by using false-colors.

Both images combine visible light with near-infrared light making the burned areas (charcoal-brown) stand out better from unburned vegetation (red) and areas where vegetation is naturally sparse or dormant (beige). The burn scar is brown is some places and more charcoal-colored in others depending on geological and vegetational factors.

These beautiful satellite images contrast the brutal reality on the ground - it is reported nearly two dozen deaths caused by the Churchhill fire and a closing down of the Wilsons Promontory Natural Park for weeks.

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