Every Pixel - Landsat's Sensors

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Detailed Description

On board Landsat 8 are two sensors that capture data about earth's surface. Here is an explanation of the instruments that capture every pixel.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:01:37

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


Landsat 8 is equipped with
two unique sensors that

give a detailed look
at our planet.

Unlike a normal camera
that sees the world in

combinations of red,
green and blue,

Landsat see’s earth
through 11 spectral bands.

And instead of taking an
entire image at once,

Landsat 8 sensors continuously
record data one line at a time.

The Operational Land Imager
uses 14 sensor chip assemblies

with over 70,000 detectors
across the 9 spectral bands

it collects. These bands detect
aerosols, visible color and

infrared light. Each detector
is focused to a 30 meter

spot of earth’s surface. 

This “pushbroom” sensor takes
synchronized readings from every

detector, creating a horizontal
line of data that translates to

a 185 kilometer swath of earth.
This repeats 236 times every second.

Landsat’s second instrument,
the Thermal InfraRed Sensor

collects 2 additional spectral
bands sensitive to temperature.

TIRS detectors are split
between 3 assemblies.

Their 100 meter resolution
captures a swath 185 km wide.

Readings from both sensors
stream to Landsat’s recording

electronics, along with ancillary
data, like GPS coordinates,

satellite orientation and
calibration data, key pieces

of image processing that
will happen later.