Aqua satellite sees sunglint on Gulf oil slick

May 19, 2010
At 3 p.m. EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite swept over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from its vantage point in space and the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer instrument captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill. Credit: NASA Goddard/ MODIS Rapid Response Team

At 3 p.m. EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite swept over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from its vantage point in space and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill.

The visible image showed three bright areas of sunglint within the area of the gray-beige colored spill. Sunglint is a mirror-like reflection of the sun off the water's surface. In calm waters, the rounded image of the sun would be seen in a satellite image. However, the waves in the Gulf blurred the reflection and created an appearance of three bright areas in a line on the ocean's surface.

According to the May 18 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web update of the Deepwater Horizon incident, " on May 17 indicated that the main bulk of the oil is dozens of miles away from the Loop Current, but that a tendril of light has been transported down close to the Loop Current."

The May 18 NOAA update also noted that "NOAA extended the boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf into the northern portion of the loop current as a precautionary measure to ensure seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. The closed area is now slightly less than 19 percent of the federal waters."

Explore further: NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Oil Slick Spreads off Gulf Coast

Apr 27, 2010

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, 2010 using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument.

NASA Captures Night Infrared View of Gulf Oil Spill

May 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A May 7 nighttime infrared image of the Gulf oil spill from an instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft provides a different perspective on the oil slick nearing the Gulf coast.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the Loop Current

May 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists monitoring the US oil spill with ESA's Envisat radar satellite say that it has entered the Loop Current, a powerful conveyor belt that flows clockwise around the Gulf of Mexico ...

Models indicate Gulf spill may be in major current

May 17, 2010

(AP) -- Researchers tracking the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico say computer models show the black ooze may have already entered a major current flowing toward the Florida Keys, and are sending out a research vessel ...

Recommended for you

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

3 hours ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Tropical Storm Rachel dwarfed by developing system 90E

8 hours ago

Tropical Storm Rachel is spinning down west of Mexico's Baja California, and another tropical low pressure area developing off the coast of southwestern Mexico dwarfs the tropical storm. NOAA's GOES-West ...

NASA ocean data shows 'climate dance' of plankton

11 hours ago

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants ...

Glaciers in the grand canyon of Mars?

13 hours ago

For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, ...

NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

13 hours ago

Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help ...

User comments : 0