On June 6, 2013, these two new views of the same moment in the ongoing eruption of the Tolbachik volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula were captured by the Advanced Land Imager on the Earth Observing-1 satellite. In the duller-colored visible light image the new lava flows to the west of the volcano, onto lower vegetated lands, are harder to see, but the ash plume can be made out blowing southeast from one of the volcanic vents.
The brighter, false color image reveals the same scene (notice how the cloud in the upper right hasn’t moved) in shortwave infrared and near-infrared light. In these wavelengths, the heat of the lava flowing on the surface and the mouth of the vent where it is erupting stands out.
This is a great example of how seeing in different bands of light can provide a lot more information about the Earth than our narrow-band human eyes can see.
To see larger versions of these images visit NASA’s Earth Observatory.