Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Uh, Why Is This Satellite Image Of The U.S. Glowing Red?

Illustration for article titled Uh, Why Is This Satellite Image Of The U.S. Glowing Red?

This satellite image of an eerie red glow lingering over the midwestern and eastern US may look alarming, but it actually comes bearing good news.

Advertisement

So what's behind the red glow? It's photosynthetic activity over four years from 2007-2011. And using that data, scientists at NASA say that they've found that the midwestern U.S. is the hottest spot for photosynthetic activity on Earth.

As plants carry out photosynthesis, their chlorophyll also generates a slow amount of fluorescence. It may be invisible to us here on Earth, but by processing meteorological satellite images, we can get a look at that fluorescent glow and its intensity — and it could be the best measure of agricultural productivity that we've generated yet, says NASA.

Advertisement

Besides being a marker of existing productivity, researchers also hope to use the models to make predictions about upcoming crop seasons.

Image: NASA Goddard

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Maveritchell
Maveritchell

"This country of mine is glowing red! Its loud roar tells me to grasp victory!"