Image of the Week - An Aleutian Eruption, Day & Night
The Shishaldin Volcano on the eastern edge of Alaska's Aleutian Island chain erupted with activity in January of 2020. The eruption on the island of Unimak sent an ash cloud nearly 5 miles into the sky on January 7th, sparking ash alerts for aviators, mariners, and residents of nearby communities. Landsat 8 captured both day and night imagery of the event as it happened. The first image in this series shows the volcano in August of 2019, a period of relative calm after a series of low-level eruptions the previous month. A more explosive event began shortly after the new year. The island's outline is just visible in a cloudy daytime image from January 7th. But the satellite's infrared and short-wave infrared bands capture the intensity of Shishaldin's eruptive energy as a flaming burst of red. The nighttime image collected hours earlier paints an even more stark picture. The satellite sensors depict the crater's heat signature as a colorful orb. Zooming in, the heat signature is apparent. Satellites such as Landsat are valuable tools to scientists studying volcanic activity from afar.