USGS EarthWord of the Week
EarthWords is an on-going series in which we shed some light on the complicated, often difficult-to-pronounce language of science. Think of us as your terminology tour-guides, and meet us back here every week for a new word!
The EarthWord: Hyperspectral
Instead of a caffeinated ghost, hyperspectral refers to something nearly as trippy. It’s a tool that shines light on surfaces and measures the reflection across multiple bands. Not only does it measure visible light, but it also measures bands of light beyond the visible like infrared.
Use/Significance in the Earth Science Community:
Hyperspectral sensors measure light reflected from the earth. The spectrum of the reflected light can be interpreted to identify the composition of materials at the surface, such as minerals, man-made materials, snow, and vegetation. These materials can be identified remotely due to their unique light spectra. In addition, these data allow large geographic areas to be mapped quickly and accurately, showing mineral resources, natural hazards, agricultural conditions and infrastructure development.
Next EarthWord: While not a Ferris wheel, this EarthWord is just as magnetic an attraction
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