December 22, 2013 - Iberian Peninsula

Iberian Peninsula

On December 15, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the Iberian Peninsula and captured this true-color image of a sunny autumn day. At the time this image was captured, two banks of fog hung over Spain, one in the northwest and one in the valley southwest of the Pyrenees Mountains.

The Iberian Peninsula sits on the southwestern tip of the European continent and is washed by the Mediterranean Sea in the east, the Bay of Biscay in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The Strait of Gibraltar separates the sovereignty of Gibraltar and Spain (on the Iberian Peninsula), from Morocco (Africa). At its narrowest point, the Strait is only 8.9 mi (14.3 km) wide. At the northeast corner of the Peninsula, the tall Pyrenees Mountains form the border between Spain and France.

Spain holds the majority of land on the Peninsula, and Portugal comprises a broad a strip of the southwestern section. The sovereignty of Gibraltar contains about 2.6 sq mi (6.8 sq km) of land at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea. Nestled in the heights of the Pyrenees Mountains the Principality of Andorra sits on the Iberian Peninsula between Spain and France. Although only 468 sq km (181 sq mi) in size – or about 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C., Andorra draws approximately 10 million visitors each year, mostly tourists drawn by winter sports, the favorable summer climate, and duty-free goods.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 12/15/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC