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Ötztal Alps

17 February 2017

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The Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite takes us over the Ötztal Alps in the western Austrian state of Tyrol in this image from 16 October 2016.

The shadows across the image may play tricks on the eye, making the valleys - the green areas - look like they stand higher than the light blue mountains. Sometimes rotating the image so the shadows fall in a different direction can 'fix' this optical illusion.

Snow appears in shades of blue in this unusual false-colour image using light in the near- and shortwave infrared part of the spectrum. This colouring makes it easier to distinguish between snow and vegetation. It also allows us to differentiate between clouds and snow, which is difficult in other parts of the spectrum as they are usually both white. But there are no clouds visible in this image to demonstrate the effect.

Oetztal Alps

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Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. Join ESA every Friday at 10:00 CEST for an 800 km-high tour with spectacular images from Earth-observing satellites.

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The Earth Watching project is an ESA/ESRIN service to help local authorities and to promote the benefits of remote sensing data during emergencies, sending images and articles to newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

The Earth Watching website features not only imagery of natural disasters, but also promotes various satellite remote sensing applications through images and articles. Some examples are shown in the special events part of the website.

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