From space, Bermuda appears as a turquoise jewel afloat on a deep blue velvet sea, often surrounded by billowing white clouds. Such was the case on November 29, 2012 when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image as it passed over the region.
The land mass of Bermuda is distributed among about 138 islands and encompasses a total of 54 square kilometers, making it about 1/3 the size of Washington, DC. In this image, the land appears silvery, due to the reflectance of the white sand beaches. The electric, jewel-toned blue tones to the north and west of the islands are caused by coral reef.
Lying in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean east of South Carolina, Bermuda has long attracted tourists to its sunny shores. Its pleasant weather and close proximity has made the islands an attractive escape from cold American winters, and 80% of tourists are American. Tourism is the second most important source of income to Bermuda’s economy. In recent years, international business exceeds tourism in importance, and Bermuda is also a highly successful offshore financial center.
In 1995, a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom was put to vote. It was defeated.