Russian Weather Satellite, YouTuber Team Up For 4K Video of Earth


New video is stitched together from several days worth of 121 MP images.

There are plenty of high-res images or stitches of our little blue marble out in the wild, but 4K video of Earth is another story.

An intrepid YouTuber is setting things right, however, thanks to some incredibly high-resolution imagery from Russia’s Elektro-L 1 weather satellite. James Tyrwhitt-Drake didn’t just stitch some photos together for your viewing pleasure; the process was quite involved, judging from his description of the process.

The satellite creates a 121 megapixel image (11136×11136 pixels) every 30 minutes with visible and infrared light wavelengths. The images were edited to adjust levels and change the infrared channel from orange to green to show vegetation more naturally. The images were re-sized by 50%, mis-alignments between frames were manually corrected, and image artifacts that occurred when the camera was facing towards the sun were partially corrected. The images were interpolated by a factor of 20 to create a smooth animation. The animation was rendered in the Youtube 4K UHD resolution of 3840×2160. An original animation file with a resolution of (5568×5568) is available on request.

The end result of all James’ hard work? Nearly four minutes of planet Earth, looking better than ever. And if you’re using a 1440p or 4K display, make sure you adjust the video resolution accordingly (there are options all the way up to 2160p).

The Elektro-L 1 satellite was launched in 2011, and it’s Russia’s first weather spacecraft that operates in a geosynchronous orbit. The Russian Federal Space Agency will eventually launch other Elektro-L satellites, but the first lives about 25,000 miles above the Indian Ocean. Elektro-L 2 was supposed to launch in 2013, but the project was delayed. It’s now supposed to launch before the end of the year.

Source: James Tyrwhitt-Drake (YouTube)

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