Earth Day from space: a satellite takes a distant photo (image)

An American satellite captured the ultimate view of Earth Day from space, showing the entire planet in a stunning group photo of humanity.

The photo, taken today (April 22) to mark Earth Day, was captured by the GOES-East satellite at 7.45 a.m. EDT (11:45 GMT) and released by NASA. It shows North and South America as seen 22,300 miles (35,888 kilometers) above the planet.

Close examination of the Earth Day image from space reveals a cold front (identified by its clouds) stretching from Montreal, Canada, south to Texas, through the Tennessee Valley, according to one NASA image description. Another weather system along the Pacific Northwest is also visible and likely to bring rain to the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and other parts of the Midwest. [Amazing Photos of Earth from Space]

Near the Earth’s equator, a line of thunderstorms associated with the so-called Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), a meteorological zone that surrounds the equator, can be seen as more storm clouds covering parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil, as described by NASA.

GOES satellites are a constellation of Earth observation spacecraft that constantly monitor the planet for data analysis. Satellites fly in so-called geostationary orbits that allow them to fly over a specific point on Earth for continuous weather monitoring.

The GOES program is overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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