The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite carries a suite of state-of-the art sensors that deliver a wealth of information to monitor our changing world, but this image was captured with its ocean and land camera. With a swath-width of 1270 km, this instrument delivers images that can span several countries, as we see here.
From east to west, the image features the islands of Corsica and Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, Italy and across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and to the western edges of Romania. To the north and partly obscured by clouds, lie Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Alps.
South of the Alps, haze hovers over Italy’s Po Valley. Following the Po River to the east, the sediment it carries can be seen entering the Adriatic Sea. In fact, sediments line most of the eastern coast of Italy, giving it a greenish blue frame, while the western coast is mostly sediment-free.
As the colours in this image suggest, the camera can be used to monitor ocean ecosystems and vegetation on land – all of which will bring significant benefits to society through more informed decision-making.
Sentinel-3A will soon be joined in orbit by its twin Sentinel-3B, which is scheduled for liftoff from Russia on 25 April. The pairing of identical satellites provides the best coverage and data delivery for Europe’s Copernicus programme – the largest environmental monitoring programme in the world.
The image, which is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme, was captured by Sentinel-3A on 28 September 2016.