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August 16, 2019
January 7, 2020

An Aleutian Eruption, Day and 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 five miles into the sky on January 7, sparking ash alerts for aviators, mariners and residents of nearby communities.

Landsat 8 captured both day- and nighttime 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 7, but the satellite's infrared and shortwave 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's 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.

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August 16, 2019
January 7, 2020