15 Stunning Images of Earth From the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A Satellite


Earlier this month, the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A satellite has completed its successful first year of orbiting the Earth more than 5300 times while providing continuous imagery of the earth’s surface no matter what the weather.

This project is part of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus program and aims to monitor the Earth’s land and sea, map natural disasters and observe sea ice. The following photos are the stunning images taken during the satellite’s first 12 months of orbiting the Earth.

1. Tokyo

The bright radar reflections you see in this photograph represents Tokyo’s urban landscape while the polar opposite represents Minami-Bōsō Quasi-National Park pictured to the southwest of Tokyo Bay.


2. Beijing, China

With over 21 million people, Beijing of The People’s Republic of China is one of the most populous cities in the world.

Beijing China

3. Lisbon, Portugal

Here we can see the Tagus River flowing from the upper right corner. Tagus, the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, originates in central Spain and stretches over 1,000 kilometers through Portugal.

Lisbon Portugal

4. Hungary

At the south and east of the landlocked country is The Great Hungarian Plain and above it the North Hungarian Mountains region.


5. Sentinel-1A Over Italy

The satellite carries an advanced radar instrument to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth’s surface.


6. Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland

The Jakobshavn Glacier, along with Greenland’s numerous glaciers drain ice from the central sheet.

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland

7. Towing the Costa Concordia

The Sentinel-1A capture this image of the Costa Concordia cruise ship being towed towards the city of Genoa. The cruise ship capsized in January 2012 near the island of Giglio.


8. Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Here we can see the Guanabara Bay in southeast Brazil. On the western banks of the bay and along the Atlantic coast to the south lies the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

9. Aral Sea

The Aral Sea, located on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

Aral Sea

10. London

London along the River Thames appears as a cluster of radar reflections.


11. Antarctica Peninsula

This image of a transect over the northern part of the Antarctica Peninsula was taken using the Sentinel-1A’s strip map mode.

Antarctica Peninsula

12. Napa Valley, California

Right after California’s Napa Valley was struck with the biggest earthquake in 25 years, Sentinel-1A was able to produce an interferogram that shows the ground moving during the quake by processing two images.

Napa Valley, California

13. Mount Pinatubo, Philippines

During its eruption in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo pushed more particulate matter in the Earth’s atmosphere than any eruptions since Krakatoa in 1883.

Mount Pinatubo, Philippines

14. Athens, Greece

In this image we see the Attica region of Greece, with Athens near the center.

Athens, Greece

15. Rub’ al Khali Desert

This radar image shows the sand dunes of the Rub’ al Khali Desert on the south Arabian Peninsula.

Rub’ al Khali Desert