Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
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7-Feb-2005

Contact: Karina De Castris
Karina.De.Castris@esa.int
European Space Agency

Cloud-free Europe from space

Only a few Europeans have been lucky enough to see their homelands from space. However, thanks to ESA's Envisat spacecraft, every European can now enjoy an astronaut's view of the country where they live.

A new set of true-colour mosaics taken by Envisat shows the entire continent in wonderful detail. And there isn't a cloud in the sky. The mosaics include all 15 ESA member states, plus the 2 States joining at some point in 2005, along with the 10 newest members of the European Union.

Since the mosaics all have the same scale, more than six images were needed to cover the whole of Germany. Smaller countries such as Luxembourg could be covered by a single image.

Perhaps most impressive of all is a continent-spanning view made up of around 160 separate images. The trans-continental picture shows an area of 1.6 million square kilometres and picks out details only 300 metres across.

Most of the digital images were taken between May and August 2003. The Austrian company GeoVille then spent 10 months carefully processing them, masking the clouds and stitching them together.

"Mosaics like this one will in future be produced more frequently to identify changes happening on our planet," said GeoVille's Christian Hoffman.

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Click here to view image of MERIS Mosaic