January 14, 2009 - Antarctica


This image of Antarctica is a mosaic of images captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on January 12, 2009. The continent of Antarctica lies over the southernmost point of the Earth, covering the South Pole. It's surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Nearly all of Antarctica (98%) is covered by ice that is a mile thick on average.

On the southern part of Antarctica is a slightly darker region - this is the Ross Ice Shelf. South of the ice shelf is the Ross Sea. Early explorers of Antarctica (including Amundsen and Scott) crossed the Ross Ice Shelf on their route to the South Pole.

On the western side of the continent, just north of the peninsula that extends out westward, is the Weddell Sea. It was in this sea that explorer Ernest Shackleton lost his ship. The southernmost tip of South America is just west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Also visible in this image are the Transantarctic Mountains, which stretch across the continent between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. There are small islands in the waters around Antarctica, but they can be difficult to pick out under all the cloud cover.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 01/12/2009
Resolutions: 1km ( B),
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC