Dazzling Photographs of Earth From Above

Satellite images of mountains, glaciers, deserts and other landscapes become incredible works of art


Icelandic Tiger (October 21, 1999)

Icelandic Tiger
Nature often inspires art, but sometimes it is art. For almost 40 years, the Landsat satellites have been snapping images of earth that look more like they belong on the walls of a modern art museum than stored in a scientific archive. The U.S. Geological Survey, which manages the satellite program with NASA, is sharing the beauty of these photos in its new “Earth as Art” exhibit on display at the Library of Congress through May 31, 2012.

Everyone at USGS who works with Landsat data has a favorite photo, and that led to the idea of gathering a collection of favorites to share with the public, says Ronald Beck, a USGS public information specialist who has worked with the Landsat Program for 37 years. Beck’s favorite in the new exhibit, the third installment of “Earth as Art,” is Icelandic Tiger. The “tiger” is part of Iceland’s northern coast, and its mouth is the fjord called Eyjafjorour, meaning “Island Fjord.” The name refers to the small island the tiger is about to eat.


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