• Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Clear skies over the Golden State allowed the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite to capture these images in mid-September 2002. California’s significant landforms are readily picked out: the fertile agricultural valley in the central part of the state, called the Sacramento Valley in the north, and San Joaquin in the south; San Francisco Bay about halfway down the Pacific coastline; lake Tahoe at the sharp angle in the California-Nevada border; the Sierra Nevada Mountains lining the eastern part of the state; the Mojave Desert, pointing like a pale triangle toward the waters of the Pacific; and the Los Angeles metropolitan area at the bottom, making a large, cement-colored patch along the coast. A few fires were detected by MODIS and are marked with red dots.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    September 8, 2002
  • Visualization Date:

    October 4, 2002
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration