A Large Patch Of Oil In The Gulf
Photograph - Photograph
May 17, 2010 - Natural-color image of a large patch of oil visible in the Gulf of Mexico, along with a long ribbon of oil stretched far to the southeast. Oil slicks are not always visible in natural-color satellite images. A thin sheen of oil on an already dark background may be impossible to detect. On this day, however, the slick was located in the sunglint part of the image, which makes the slick stand out. Sunglint is the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water. A coating of oil smoothes the sea surface relative to the oil-free water, causing it to reflect light differently. Depending on where in the sunglint area it occurs, the slick may look brighter or darker than adjacent clean water. In this image, the slick appears as an uneven shape of varying shades of bright gray-beige.
December 7th, 2011
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