Image: Sharm El Sheikh

July 27, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA , CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite takes us over Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Famous as a resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, this coastal strip along the Red Sea is peppered with bars, restaurants and hotels. The ancient Greeks and Romans are thought to have taken their holidays in Egypt as long ago as the 4th century BC.

Click on the box in the lower-right corner to view this image at its full 10 m resolution directly in your browser.

This striking true-colour image shows the Gulf of Aqaba at the top centre, feeding into the Red Sea – home to some of the hottest and saltiest seawater in the world. The Red Sea is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest waterways.

Usually an intense blue-green, as captured in this image, the Red Sea is known, on occasion, to turn reddish-brown owing to , which change the colour of the sea when they die off.

The area offers many opportunities for diving. In the centre of the image we can see a series of coral reefs, which host rich marine life. The variations in the colour of the water surrounding the islands and in the right of the image represent the depth of water – the lighter areas show more shallow waters than the vast expanse of deep blue, which dominates the image.

In the top-right of the image we can see the western tip of mainland Saudi Araba – the beautiful and uninhabited sandy cape of Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed. Here, the red colour represents areas with higher levels of moisture in an arid, desert landscape, whilst the white colour represents salt.

Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission for land monitoring, providing imagery of soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas, for Europe's Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.

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