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What is a satellite image?

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Quick Answer

A satellite image is an image of the whole or part of the earth taken using artificial satellites. These images have a variety of uses, including: cartography, military intelligence and meteorology. Satellite images can either be visible light images, water vapor images or infrared images.

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What is a satellite image?
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Full Answer

Visible light satellite images are photos of what the sky and the ground look like from space at any given time. This form is primarily used during daylight hours. Night shots may be used to track human habitation or to document nocturnal light sources.

Infrared images detect heat patterns in the clouds and on the ground. Since infrared satellite imagery doesn't rely on visible light for illumination, these images can be taken at any time of day.

Water vapor images show moisture in the atmosphere, often in the form of clouds. These are used in tracking potential storms and general weather prediction.


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