June 11, 2024 - Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

Sun was shining on the Galapagos Islands on June 7, 2024, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this true-color image.

The volcanic islands, which sit about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) off the coast of Ecuador, are at the end of their warm/wet season. Although temperature and rainfall doesn’t vary greatly across the year, December through May tends to be the warmest at wettest time of year, especially in the higher elevations, while June through November is cooler with a lingering mist in the highlands. The long rainy season contributes to the rich greening seen on parts of each of the islands.

The Galapagos Islands were first made famous by Charles Darwin and his studies of the unique species on the islands, especially finch species that had adapted to niche ecosystems. His work, titled On the Origin of Species, would come to be known as the foundational work on evolution.

The Galapagos is home to nearly 9,000 species, many of them rare and found nowhere else on Earth outside of their island niches. A few of these species include giant tortoises, the Pink Land Iguana, flightless cormorants, and the only species of penguin that lives north of the equator.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 6/7/2024
Resolutions: 1km (46.3 KB), 500m (98.8 KB), 250m (188.9 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC