Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The High Plains in Various Light

NASA put up images of one of my destinations on the Earth Observatory Image of the Day The top image is in plain light the second is derived from a combination of visible and infrared.


Visible and infrared

The infrared provides a great deal of information about what is going on with vegetation. By enhancing colors to show the results of the infrared, vegetation nuances either not visible or difficult to see can readily be observed. The red areas on the image stand out and happen to be areas that burned within the last year..

I got my own enhanced view of the Fort Collins area that at least in part covers the same area at the NASA image. A recent heavy snow fall enhanced the ability to see lots of features. Hence, no distracting colors - a black and white world. Although temperatures were single digits, the lakes and ponds had not frozen over yet.

 The ponds and lakes are a combination of small dammed creeks used to hold and store water for irrigation or stock watering (or once were and are now recreational) and former gravel mines. A long string of gravel mine ponds can be seen along the flood plain between the city and the interstate freeway in the bottom left of the image. These same gravel mine ponds show up very well in the infrared.

I suspect this last image would show up as a bright infrared grid. The site is a feed lot with snow less patches the result of either cattle in the pens or the warmth generated by the layers of breaking down organics left in the pens.

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