This image acquired by NASA's Terra spacecraft is of Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, as it continued its latest eruptive activity with a new lava flow from the recently formed southeast crater.

Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, continued its latest eruptive activity with a new lava flow from the recently formed southeast crater. In this Feb. 7, 2014 image acquired from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft, vegetation is red, snow is white and bare lava flows are dark gray. The yellow pixels are areas that are highlighted in the thermal infrared channels, and indicate the hot crater (single spot) and the lava flow. To the east, the thin blue-gray cloud is ash and gas emitted from the crater. The image covers an area of 12.4 by 13.7 miles (20 by 22 kilometers), and is centered near 37.5 degrees north, 15 degrees east.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.

View all Images